We’ve all heard about the academic and personal benefits of taking music and piano lessons. Once a family has decided to start music lessons, they then have the choice between taking music lessons at home or music lessons in a teacher’s studio.
One of the questions an in-home music teacher hears frequently is, “Does taking a music lesson in your own home make that make of a difference versus in a school or a studio?” The answer is “absolutely!” I have taught over 200 students in both Home Music Lessons and Studio Music Lessons – I can speak from experience. The comparison between the two is crystal clear.
What is it that makes lessons in the home so successful? The answer can be found in the reaction of the child. How a child perceives what is taking place during the lesson is crucial to a young music student’s success. Is the student receiving positive feedback and encouragement? Or are they only being told what they are doing wrong. Does the child have a positive one-on-one relationship with the music teacher? Is the lesson another “job” they must finish before they can go play? Or is the lesson a real treat that they look forward to.
Children are incredibly perceptive. They can sense if someone is genuinely interested in them and will react almost immediately to even the slightest rise or fall in a teacher’s voice. A child’s perception is even more impacted when they feel comfortable – such as in the familiar surroundings of their own home. I have seen children become extremely focused when they have sensed the presence of a parent in a nearby room. Children have a natural desire to please – and that desire is doubled when it comes to pleasing their parents. By keeping the music lessons in the home, the children have a constant reminder of their goal. I have seen a child’s face light up when mom praises him for learning her favorite song. Lessons in the home remind the child of his purpose and this completely changes the way the child views the lessons.
A music or piano lesson in the home is also a completely different experience than any of their other activities. Most homes aren’t equipped to have a swim team practice in the living room! Music Lessons are one of the few extracurricular activities that children can actually enjoy in their home. This creates a unique experience that the child comes to view as a special event – different from anything else they (and probably their friends) do.
The creation of a unique experience truly comes to light when comparing in-home lessons to lessons at a studio. Children spend an average of eight hours a day in a school environment where they are fed a constant stream of information. When lessons are taught at a school or studio, the setting mimics a school environment. Although any music lessons are better than nothing, the child frequently starts to associate the lessons as just another subject to get through – not something to love and enjoy for a lifetime. Again, exposing a child to any form of music lessons is a gift; however, the question we are exploring is whether not in-home music classes are a more effective choice than Studio or School Lessons. While music lessons in a studio are better than no lessons at all, a student will be able to reap the full benefits by having music lessons in the home.
Turning to my own teaching experience, the results were clear between my Home and School Music Students. Children of the same age would start at the same time – and quite often in the exact same book. By the time the Spring Recital rolled around, the difference between the two students were obvious. Children who took music classes at home far exceeded the others in their progress – without exception. I have had several parents switch their child from Studio to Home Music Lessons – almost all of them have remarked on the increased progress their child made after switching. Parents who have made the switch from studio music lessons to home music lessons say they would never go back!
I do not have a degree in Child Psychology or Education. What I do have is years of experience teaching music classes to hundreds of young students. Parents want the best for their children – the best teachers, activities, and the best learning environment. At the end of the day though, they rely on their instinct and experience to determine what is best for their child. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to understand a child – you just have to care enough and show it. Many families haven’t considered how important the learning environment is for music students. After exploring the difference between home music lessons and studio music lessons, parents often chose the in-home lesson option.