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How to Take Music Lessons at Home

What if you could improve your or your child's social, physical, and academic skills? No, we aren't talking sports. We mean music lessons! Learning a new instrument can help cultivate self-esteem, patience, and discipline while also encouraging self expression and providing exposure to history and culture. Many music lesson studios are not offering in person lessons due to the Covid 19 pandemic, and even if your local studio is open to the public, you might be wary of leaving the house or spending time in an enclosed space with a teacher. Luckily for you, taking music lessons from home has never been easier! Read on for everything you need to know about starting home music lessons.

Find Your Hardware

Whether you're taking piano lessons, guitar lessons, or vocal lessons, you have many options for finding the right equipment for you and your budget. Rental instruments are a budget-friendly option for those who aren't quite ready to commit. Renting over buying used is especially helpful if you're a brand new music student, or you’re still getting a feel for the instrument and you're not 100% sure about it. Additionally, rental electric keyboards and digital pianos are a great alternative for new piano players who might not have space — or money — for an upright or grand piano. You can find monthly instrument rentals through your local music instrument retailer, or at sites like Music Rental Central, which ships to all 48 continental states in the U.S. Used instruments are significantly more affordable than new ones, and can be ideal for music students who are more sure of their level of commitment. Trusting your seller is the key to any successful used instrument purchase. It's important to know who you’re buying from, and to confirm the quality of the instrument before purchase whenever possible. You should also be clear on the seller’s refund policy in case of damages, hidden defects, or other issues that can arise after purchasing a new instrument. Some reliable sites for finding used instruments include:

  • eBay

  • Craigslist

  • Amazon

  • Facebook Marketplace

  • Reverb

  • Sweetwater

  • Music Go Round

New instruments assure you the quality and personalization to meet your needs. However, they do come with a higher price tag. To find new instruments near you, contact your local music instrument retailer or check out sites like Musician's Friend and Guitar Center. After that, make sure you have the right accessories for whatever instrument you're taking up. A guitar will need extra picks and strings, as well as a tuner — plus headphones and an amplifier if you're playing electric. For electric keyboards, you'll want a stand for your instrument, a sustain pedal, and headphones or an amplifier if you don’t have built in speakers. No matter what instrument you play, you’ll want comfortable seating, a music stand for reading music, and a metronome to practice keeping time.

Find a Teacher

Now that you've secured an instrument, it's time to find a music teacher. If you're not sure where to start, ask around for word-of-mouth recommendations. Search for lesson studios, community music schools, universities, and other professional organizations in your area. Even though you're taking music lessons from home, there are still several factors to consider when picking the right teacher. These include:

  • How long is each lesson?

  • How much does each lesson cost?

  • What forms of payment are accepted?

  • What should you bring to your first lesson?

  • Is there a cancellation or rescheduling policy? If so, what is it?

  • Are there any openings for trial lessons coming up?

So, how do you know when you've found the right one? A good music teacher should make their students feel nurtured and comfortable, even when they have trouble mastering a concept. Additionally, a good music teacher should be honest, but not condescending. If a student has trouble with an idea, the teacher should be able to communicate it clearly in a variety of ways. Above all, your music teacher should care about your goals and help you make a plan to achieve them. Once you've learned all you can with that teacher, they should be upfront about when it's time to move up to a new one. And if you decide that your music lessons just aren't working out, they shouldn't belittle you for it.

Find Your Software

Since you won't be taking music lessons in a traditional setting, the right software makes a world of difference. Plus, you don't need a lot of technical know-how to participate in virtual music lessons. For example, Keylab uses the Zoom video conferencing app for students and teachers to hear and see each other. As such, it's important to have a functional camera, microphone, and set of speakers. Keylab also uses additional websites, like Soundtrap and Tunelark, to create a more interactive experience for music training and testing. Your teacher will be able to provide additional instructions based on the lesson plans. For online sessions, most devices will work, but a laptop or desktop computer is preferable over phones and tablets, as some instruments may need to be connected to these devices for the best lesson experience. Your tech setup should allow the student to see both the computer and instrument without having to switch positions, and the teacher should be able to see and hear the student and their instrument clearly.

Prepare for the Lesson

Once your technology is in place for the lesson, remember to create the right environment. In general, it should be comfortable, well-lit, and free of distractions. Auditory distractions can include the voices of friends or family members in the same room, so it's best to take lessons in a separate, quiet room if possible. And it can also be inspiring to try decorating your lesson room with art, or to add special lighting or anything else that would make the room feel more inviting. Hunger can also be a powerful distraction during your music lessons. Fortunately, there are several "brain foods" you can snack on beforehand to help boost memory and concentration. These include blueberries, nuts, and dark chocolate. Lastly, music lessons should always be a phone-free zone. Keep them silent and out of reach during the lessons. Not only is it disrespectful to your teacher, but it's also a waste of the money you're spending on lessons.

Practice Makes Perfect

To get the most out of your home music lessons, don't forget to practice! Your recommended practice time will depend on what instrument you play, your skill level, and what your music teacher assigns before the next lesson. For beginners to any instrument, it's generally recommended to practice for 15-30 minutes a day. For intermediate players, 30-60 minutes a day will do the trick. Advanced players will need at least an hour of practice a day. The key to improving on your instrument is to create an effective practice routine that you follow consistently. However, if you can't meet the recommended practice times, try to do at least a little bit each day. Practicing at the same time each day will also help with retention. And don't underestimate the value of recording your practice sessions. Not only will this help you get comfortable playing for a virtual "audience," but it'll also help you identify any issues you might not notice while you're playing.

Start Your Home Music Lessons Today

Taking music lessons from the comfort of your own home has never been easier. If you're looking to learn a new skill — or teach your child yourself — learning a new instrument pays great dividends. Our lessons for kids and adults offer professional teachers, personalized experiences, and flexible scheduling. Want to learn more? Ready to get started? Contact us today to book your first free session.

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