When you have a lesson at home, whether online or in person, you need to be prepared with your own equipment. This blog gives you four key items that you need in order to have a successful music lesson at home.
A music stand is one of the most important accessories for a musician. Not only a place to hold sheet music (not to mention a tuner, pencil, or metronome!), but it improves and encourages good posture.
Good posture is essential for our health, but for a musician it also gives you a solid sound and playing position. Slouching, or any position where the head is forced down such as reading music off a floor, table or twisting around in an awkward position will impact the sound of the instrument.
When used correctly, a music stand will greatly improve your posture by having the music at eye level and sitting or standing in a position which encourages strong and confident playing.
We recommend every student have a music stand and our teachers are happy to help ensure your child is using it correctly.
Tune that instrument!
I had my piano tuned recently, and my tuner said his work had tripled recently as teachers suddenly saw and heard what their students were practicing on!
A piano that’s poorly tuned affects students’ aural skills and may make playing more difficult as key pressure may not be even, affecting technique. A piano that’s tuned correctly help students understand what chords and pitches sound like. If a student learns to play with incorrect pitch, it hinders their ability to play a tuned piano as the pitch won’t sound right to them. It’s also much more exciting and enjoyable to play a piano that’s in tune and sounds good!
Like any instrument, a piano needs to be regularly maintained. When a piano is out of tune, it creates tension in the strings which causes deterioration and may eventually lead to costly restringing, which can cost almost as much as a new piano. Checking your piano every 6-12 months is recommended to ensure it lasts as long as possible.
For woodwind instruments, we recommend a yearly service to ensure that your instrument is in good condition with all buttons and keys in good working order.
If you have a string instrument, it is much easier to regularly tune your instrument. There is a range of digital tuners you can purchase or ask your teacher at your next lesson for some help.
A metronome is a must for any musician. It’s a super handy tool that generates a steady click at the tempo it’s set to. Practicing with a metronome will improve students’ technique and time.
Learning a new scale or new piece of music can be challenging, and a metronome can help students learn faster. By practicing at a slower speed, students can learn tricky passages or fingering by gradually building up speed. This has the added benefit of students being able to ‘see’ their progress as they learn to play faster and faster, providing a great sense of accomplishment.
Practicing with a metronome also reduces the tendency to speed up or slow down as they play. This is natural, particularly for beginner students, so using a metronome develops their inner sense of rhythm and beat.
Mark music in pencil
Using pen to mark sheet music is a big no-no! Always use a pencil when making notations on sheet music, particularly if you don’t own it. Students may not always want or need the notations they make as their skills advance, so you always want to be able to erase it.