Weekly lessons are a major part of music education, and no one would argue the importance of one-on-one attention. However, it is often the case that once a student leaves their university, lessons tend to occur less regularly. For many recent grads there are lots of available reasons to avoid lessons: their schedules are too full, lessons are expensive, they are burnt out this kind of instruction, or maybe they feel they no longer need it. Although some of these can be legitimate concerns, the value of individual instruction and coaching is great enough that it should be made a priority.
Throughout the professional athletic world, coaching is an integral part to the highest levels of success, and the world of professional tennis is a prime example. In this article, Diane Pucin discusses some of the relationships between top players and coaches. There is no need to mention all the accolades Serena Williams has earned in her storied career, and when talking about her work with coach Patrick Mouratoglou she said this:
"No matter what, no matter what stage you're at, you can get better, and you can't always do that yourself. You need another set of eyes, another voice.”
As a musician at any level, this is what you get from one-on-one coaching. It’s not just about getting advice on technique or assigning materials to work on. It’s about getting a knowledgeable outside perspective on all aspects of your playing. Sometimes, no matter how skilled you are at self-analysis, have another set of ears can shed some light on things you never noticed.
Even if you don’t have the ability or desire to get a lesson (or coaching session if you prefer to call it) from a well-known teacher or performer, find someone you trust and set one up. If you are You can leave it up to whoever is listening, or you can ask them to focus on specifics, such as rhythm, tone, musicality, or style. Perhaps most importantly, you have to keep an open mind on the feedback you receive from your musical coach, and it is very helpful to record your session to listen to/watch later.
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