You could eat a plain peanut butter sandwich. You could eat a jelly sandwich. But something magical happens when the two distinct flavors combine—they make beautiful music together. The same goes for performance ensembles and individual lessons. They complement each other.
Individual music lessons help students master their instruments with focused attention from a musical professional. During one-on-one lesson time, students learn the specific techniques and develop skills they need to play successfully. Private Lessons cover correct playing posture and positioning, scales and chords, music theory, and how to produce a sound with good tone quality.
One of the great benefits of individual lessons is that students can learn at their own pace and pursue their own musical interests. They can seek extra help to “woodshed” a difficult riff, or they can ask for in-depth enrichment in areas where they excel. With a teacher by their side, students can set personal goals, focus on their skills, and become more advanced players. As an added benefit, they’ll enjoy the boost of confidence that comes along with their progress.
When students come together in performance ensembles, they contribute to a larger, more in-depth sound than they can achieve on their own. Rehearsal time focuses on combining the individual parts of the music together with the correct rhythm, blend and balance of instruments, articulations, dynamics, and musical expression. These elements can be complicated and very detailed so Directors of music groups have very limited time to teach individual students the specific techniques of playing their instrument.
The benefits of ensembles include musical and social development. Students are introduced to different instruments, sound color combinations, and musical styles as they connect with other young artists. They learn skills needed in higher education and in professional settings such as following a conductor or leader, accompanying and supporting others, and performing in front of an audience. Students develop more refined listening skills, learn to work as a team, and build leadership qualities as they collaborate together.
Let’s not forget the major bonus of being “with the band.” Students who play in ensembles gain an instant peer group and memories that can last a lifetime. Playing with your friends is WAY more fun than playing alone.
A Winning Combination
When you combine individual lessons with participation in a performance ensemble, you get even greater results. Students feel accountable to their peers to improve their individual musical abilities. That means they’re more likely to practice. (Halleluiah!) All the hard work they put into individual lessons and practice pays off when they come together as an ensemble for productive rehearsals and successful performances. They even increase their self-esteem as they develop into better musicians individually.
Be a Team Player
It’s like a sports team—the better the individual skills of each player, the better the team. And when the team is really good, the players feel compelled to maintain high individual skills so they don’t let their teammates down. It’s a continuous cycle of improvement.
Ideally, a student should have at least one year of experience playing an instrument before joining an ensemble. An easy way to get started is to join a group class to learn the basics. From there, students can refine their skills and master their instruments in individual lessons. Once their teacher feels they are ready, they can combine the peanut butter and the jelly by adding ensemble participation to their lessons.
The Little School of Music connects students to group lessons, individual instructors, and performance ensembles that can accelerate their progress as musicians. Contact us to learn more about the awesome benefits of combining individual lessons with a performance ensemble.
Little School of Music is fully Accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Schools, Western Association of Schools and Colleges.