It happens to the best of us: a sudden illness, a misplaced calendar date, a soccer match. When a student misses a private lesson at the Omaha School of Music and Dance, we strive to make it as easy as possible to keep progressing. Enter Lesson Mate! Instructors make and send videos to students who are absent for their lessons via a service called Lesson Mate Video.
But simply receiving an email and watching the teacher run through a list of instructions once won’t yield the same results as an entire lesson in person.
There are many steps parents and students can take with the Lesson Mate Video to ensure a well-prepared lesson with measurable progress the following week.
1) When watching the Lesson Mate Video through the first time, take notes! For each concept or example, make a note of the minute-marking for easy referral while practicing.
Scales – different rhythms 1:20
Special finger placement – ring finger practice 2:45
Etude No.12, keep in mind metronome marking, and dynamics 3:04
Etude example, 4:00
2) Second time through, be ready with the instrument, but pause the video after each concept giving the student a chance to briefly work on the technique. Need to hear it again? Look to your notes for the minute-marking of the example.
3) Throughout the week, devote entire practice sessions to a single concept addressed in the Lesson Mate Video.
Sunday – 20 minutes, finger technique, particularly alternative fingerings.
Monday – 20 minutes, measure 4-10 in Etude No.12. Work slowly with metronome!
Tuesday – 15 minutes, long tones for tone. 15 minutes, measure 4-10, increase tempo.
Wednesday – 20 minutes, alternative fingerings in Etude. 12 minutes, Etude slowly for tone.
4) Record your own practice sessions—and play them back. Take a smart phone, tablet, or other device and record your own attempts at the concepts at the beginning of your practice time. When listening back, listen for what your teacher talked about: are you going too quickly, or are tempos uneven? Is your rhythm accurate? Are you using dynamics? Stop and practice the concept again. Record yourself a day or two later, and see if there’s been improvement.
5) Watch the Lesson Mate Video throughout the week, in order to remember specifics of what the teacher is asking. Has the student left out anything? Make notes, and keep them on your music stand during practice.
6) If a student only has a few times a week to practice, this preparation (note taking of the video, marking the concepts) is even more important. In order to cover all the topics in the video, practice sessions must be approached with structure and planning. Use a timer to stay on track. Even if challenges aren’t entirely overcome at the end of 10-15 minutes, move on to the next concept.
Monday – 15 minutes scales, 10 minutes alternative fingers, 10 minutes Etude No. 12, measure 4-10.
Thursday – 15 minutes, long tones for tone, 10 minutes Etude slowly, work up the tempo with metronome, 15 minutes measures 4-10 with exaggerated dynamics.
Saturday – 10 minutes long-tones and scales, 10 minutes Etude No.12, try at tempo.
- Watch the Lesson Mate video multiple times throughout the week
- Take notes on concepts covered
- Pause the video to practice with the teacher
- Practice with the notes/goals on your stand and record yourself
- Plan your practice sessions
- Use a timer!
Missing a private lesson can often cause anxiety, but the next time you or your child can’t make it to the Omaha School of Music and Dance, following these steps should ensure a productive week. Your teacher will be impressed with your progress and commitment to improvement.