Private Practice Before Private Lessons

Someone asked me if I teach private lessons after my volunteer ukulele teaching gig the other day. It was really flattering. I said, no, I don’t but that private lessons won’t matter unless you can find time to practice at home in the first place. I said that I was happy to send her home with the music we already played and a homework assignment.

We live in this fantastic internet age where you can get lots of beginner lesson material for free. All you really need to start learning an instrument is:

  • lead sheets for a couple of easy tunes you want to learn

  • some basic technique practice patterns

  • commitment to practice regularly

By “regularly” I mean multiple times a week and at consistent days/times. Ideally, this is first thing in the morning during the first 3-12 weeks that you’re trying to add a new routine or habit to your life.

I do have to applaud the person who asked if I teach private lessons for being willing to spend money on it. For some people, spending money helps to ensure commitment. But in my own experiences, spending money has never guaranteed my own commitment so I don’t take for granted that it is enough.

One must first establish a regular pattern of musical practice. Only then should one seek out instruction. Because what are we seeking after all, except feedback on what we ought to practice?