This is a guest post written by Aeyons violin teacher Ben Wragg.
Your lesson is golden time, so make sure you’re getting as much out of it as you can! Unfortunately, not everyone does that. Here are some tips:
Maximum focus: If you don’t focus 100%, time will be wasted; you’ll grasp things slower, more things will need to be repeated etc. For a typical young student, the lesson might be towards the end of the day and after school so focusing can be demanding. Nevertheless, make sure you always try your best.
Really listen! Really listen to and try to understand what your teacher is saying. If they’re demonstrating, the same applies!
Watch! I remember when I was about to begin studying with Ricci, another wise teacher said to me: “Really watch when he demonstrates.” I think what he meant was when you have a master in the room, don’t just enjoy the sound of their playing, study everything about it – I made a point of doing that.
Remember! After a great lesson where you’ve made much progress, it’s only valuable if you develop it in your practice. That means the next day, you’ve got to have a clear memory of what happened in the lesson so you can develop it. Your teacher can’t make notes for you on absolutely everything, so you need to develop this vital skill.
Take the advice! When your teacher tells you how to practice something or gives you a specific bowing/fingering, take their advice! It’s to help you do it better. Don’t make them waste time going over it again next lesson. If you think you have a better idea, as opposed to going against your teacher’s markings, make a note of it and ask your teacher next lesson.
Ask! If you don’t understand something, or why you need to do something try not to be shy and always ask your teacher to explain. If anything this shows them that you’re engaged and eager to learn.
Keep calm! Everyone gets frustrated sometimes but just as it’s a teacher’s duty not to lose his cool (as much as possible), for a pupil to show it too obviously in the lesson isn’t respectful or helpful. By keeping calm you’ll achieve better and quicker results.
Have the correct music! Check this when you leave the house (or before an online lesson), or be ready to play from memory. But even so, it’s always better to have the music so anything can be written in or checked easily.
Look after your instrument! Look after your violin and do your best to keep it in tune throughout the week so time isn’t wasted in the lesson.
And finally…preparation! To get the most from your lesson it goes without saying that you need to be as prepared as possible, meaning – practice. Trying your best to fix the issues from the previous lesson so as not to have to repeat things unnecessarily. Part of this preparation also includes: researching the composer(s) and listening to recordings of the pieces you’re studying as well as other works by the same composers, especially symphonies.