I'm in Orchestra at School. Should I Have Private Lessons?
Many students who play in the orchestra at their school, along with their parents, grapple with the question of private lessons at some point. Do I really need them? Is it worth the money? The answer to this question is not very straightforward, and it has a lot to do with where you are in your musical journey, and how that works with your level of interest. Orchestra programs play an important role in educating students by introducing them to the instruments, teaching them basic technique on those instruments, exposing them to varied repertoire, and affording them an opportunity to play in various group settings. Nonetheless, let’s consider the uniquely important role that a private instructor plays in the process of learning a string instrument.
One-On-One Instruction is much more in depth than what a teacher can give a student in a classroom setting and it is tailored to the specific needs of the student.
In the beginning, the teacher at school will work hard to teach your child all of the basics of playing. But, as you can imagine, these teachers have a full class of beginners and it is impossible for them to get one-on-one instruction time with every student in order to help each of them overcome their unique physical tendencies and limitations. This, of course, continues through middle and high school, with many students not having the opportunity to adequately address all of the technical issues that arise and play more difficult music on their instrument. Taking lessons will ensure that your child thoroughly learns the instrument, forming healthy habits early on in order that they learn how to play in the best way that suits their body.
One-On-One instruction is much more likely to lead to a long and positive experience with learning a string instrument.
A private lessons instructor can vastly deepen the student’s understanding of technique, ensure that their instrument is working properly for them, and teach them how to put the work in at home to improve as a player. All of this leads to a more satisfying experience in most cases. A student can handle their orchestra parts with much less trouble, play solo pieces, make it into higher level ensembles in high school, play in extracurricular youth orchestras, get scholarships in college to play in Orchestra (even if a non-major), and play into adulthood in various community orchestras, religious settings, and more. In sum, a student can enjoy the pleasure of having a beautiful sound on the instrument and being able to more fully express themselves through that sound in various settings.
If you want orchestra to be a hard-working and rewarding experience where you accomplish something, private lessons are an invaluable tool for doing so. The choice is yours but, in all circumstances, we hope orchestra is a fun and fulfilling experience for all orchestra students. So have fun with it! Happy playing!