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The Importance Of Music Lessons

April 13, 2012; Leslie Bazzano

As children learning an instrument, or as university students perfecting technique, lessons are an important part of being a musician. And the importance of lessons does not diminish once a degree is earned, or as technique is developed. There is always room for improvement; the deep love for your instrument (and music!) should inspire you to express the greatest music with the greatest voice. Lessons are important because they help expand one's repertoire, serve as examples of how to instruct one's own students, and can open up new ways of thinking about music.

First, lessons help expand one's repertoire. A student may love to play Baroque music and even have great opportunities to do so, but there may be even more opportunities with a larger repertoire. Lessons may not only help the musician's technique to grow in new directions, but an expanded repertoire could lead to a new appreciation with a previously-unexplored composer or music genre.

Continuing lessons throughout one's career also helps musicians teach their own students. Instead of thinking that "those who cannot do, teach," consider the more-productive approach that those who teach, learn. For many musicians, giving lessons helps in their own practice and helps them consider their own technique as they demonstrate and verbalize to their students. Taking lessons can also serve as a course on lesson-giving. Those who learn, make better music.

Finally, a musician may consider taking lessons on a different instrument. This could be a short-term experiment, or the beginning of new musical opportunities. How could voice lessons, for example, do anything less than teach better musical sentences or intonation to an instrumentalist?

Being a musician--professional or for the love of it--requires a love of knowledge and of communicating the intricacies of a piece. It goes to follow that one has a relationship with one's instrument that grows. Just as an experienced musician does not play on a student model, a musician must continue to nurture the relationship with the instrument. This is the heart of the importance of lessons.

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