Frequently Asked Questions
Where are lessons taught?
Prior to the situation we find ourselves in now, lessons were typically taught at the student's school. Also prior to this situation, lessons at my home were based on the student's circumstances. HOWEVER, private lesson teachers are not allowed to teach on school campuses at this time in order to follow safety protocol. Students can still receive virtual lessons at school and/or at their home. More info regarding this is based on invidual school requirements and will be sent upon request.
How long are lessons taught during the school year?
Lessons are taught throughout the entire school year on school days. Many students also request taking summer lessons to keep their playing level from dropping and to build momentum going in to the next school year.
When are lessons taught?
Lessons occur on school days either before school hours, during band class or after school hours. I try to accommodate requested times, but scheduling is based on a first-come, first-served basis so requests aren't always attainable. Each student has a designated day that is their weekly lesson day.
Are lessons at the same time each week?
I try my best to maintain a consistent weekly schedule, but there will be times that's just simply not possible. There are scheduling conflicts throughout the school year usually due to school events. If I'm aware of approaching conflicts with a specific school or schools, then I'll try to adjust my schedule to avoid students missing a lesson that week. I'll do my best to notify families of these schedule changes, but there may be times I'm not informed of these changes in enough time to give adequate notification.
What happens if my student doesn't receive their lesson during a week as scheduled?
If a lesson is missed due to the student not being available for the lesson (not in class) and I wasn't notified within the amount of time required by the lesson guidelines, then that lesson will still have to be paid for. Remember, prior to current situation, I traveled to each school and that takes time and money. Even when not traveling, the open spot could have been filled. If a lesson is missed due to an issue on my part (me being sick, one of my children being sick, etc.), then that lesson will either be made up ASAP or I'll make the necessary adjustment so as not to charge the student.
How much do lessons cost?
The fee for each lesson is based on the amount decided by the student's ISD/band program. If there is a need for financial assistance in order for your student to participate in the lesson program, please contact your band director. Many band programs have financial assistance opportunities.
Why are lessons necessary?
Lessons provide your student the opportunity to work with a professional, one-on-one. Each student is different and have their own specific needs. Lessons help create a personal path for each student’s musical growth. My goal is to guide the student to discover how to be a more critical listener and achieve higher musical levels through deeper interpretation of the music, drawing out the beauty that is waiting to be discovered.
How do I pay for lessons?
Payments are made directly to me. There are multiple payment options. Check, cash and online options. More details will be sent upon request.
When do I need to pay for lessons?
Payment MUST be paid in advance/before the lesson occurs. Typically, payments are made at the beginning of each month. There are other payment arrangements which can be offered based on the ISD the student is from.
What happens during the lessons?
During lessons, I focus on two main areas. At the beginning of each lesson I work on fundamentals (tone, articulations, flexibility, range, etc.) through the student's concept of a warm-up. The remainder of the lesson is designated for music that is school required and/or music that I feel focuses on areas of the student's playing that need to be addressed. I frequently ask the student questions throughout the lesson to make sure they are constantly listening to everything that comes out of their instrument and what they did to create those sounds. My goal is to help the student understand what they need to do to "teach" themselves during the practice sessions that aren't supervised.
How many days a week should my student practice?
Ideally, students should practice as much as they can. I personally believe that students should practice about six days a week. Everyone needs a day to relax and rest their "chops."
How long should my student practice?
One long session is not the optimal way to practice. This can quickly tire the student out and could create long-lasting negative effects if done for many days in a row. The best way is to practice in smaller sessions (about 20 minutes each) with breaks in-between.
What should my student be practicing?
In addition to a structured warm-up, students should be practicing a variety of music, which they should balance out throughout each week. Students must always be prepared with their band music prior to their class time. The biggest challenge students will face is the music required for each competition throughout the school year (i.e. All-Region, solo, band placements, etc.) The most important result that should come from their practice session is they feel that they've improved in at least one or more areas prior to that practice session. Even a small improvement is a step in the right direction.
What should we be hearing during their practice sessions?
This is a tricky question. Basically, you want to hear good playing and bad playing. If all you ever hear is fairly good playing, then most likely your student is just playing the music that they can easily play and are avoiding the challenging music. If all you hear is bad playing, then your student isn't practicing in a way that allows them to notice the mistakes that need to be fixed. Students should go through a learning process with each piece of music they get, which will sound "interesting" at first. If they are being meticulous and follow my suggestions, then the music should sound more coherent with each practice session. Lastly, students should practice with their metronome quite often to help create consistency in their timing.
How does taking the student out during band class work? Are the band directors okay with this?
The school districts have lesson programs where they allow vetted private lesson teachers to teach students during the student's band class during the school day. Band directors are absolutely ok (even happy) with this as it allows students one-on-one time with a professional. We work with the student in a practice room, which is right next to the band room, for a portion of their band class. AS OF RIGHT NOW (FOLLOWING COVID GUIDELINES), ALL OF THE ABOVE IS STILL TRUE WITH THE EXCEPTION THAT LESSONS WILL BE VIRTUAL INSTEAD OF FACE-TO-FACE.
Are virtual/online lessons effective?
Honestly, before I began teaching online lessons I wasn't sure how effective virtual lessons would be. Now, after teaching hundreds of virtual lessons I can say, without a doubt, that YES they are effective. The first thing I noticed was that the attention span of the students had increased. They were often able to communicate more openly and focus more on the little details in their playing and my playing. I've also noticed that students were accomplishing more during the lesson. Maybe it's due to less distractions as students focus on a screen more than their surroundings. For whatever reason(s) it may be, myself and numerous colleagues have discussed how we've noticed these changes.
My student is doing virtual school instead of face-to-face. How does that work?
Lessons will take place the same way as they would if at school. Virtual lessons follow the same guidelines as answered in all the other questions with the exception that the student will be at the student's home.
How does my student take virtual/online lessons?
The only difference between face-to-face lessons and virtual/online lessons is that both the student and I use electronic devices to communicate during the lesson. Electronic devices can be phones, ipads, computers or anything that can be used to communicate. We primarily use the Zoom teaching platform, but will use Skype or FaceTime if necessary. I'll create a meeting time and invite the student at the time their lesson is to begin. More details regarding this will be sent as lessons are getting ready to take place.