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25 Feb

The Basic Essential Materials for Lessons



The materials needed for music lessons vary depending on factors such as instrument, age and level. However, there are several items that I feel are essential to every and all types of lessons.

  • Instrument: This is pretty self-explanatory. Students without their own instrument simply cannot practice or play on their own. I also think it is equally important for students to discover and develop a sense of the instrument’s “personality.” Every instrument is different. For example, a string instrument can have deep, clear, penetrating, muffled, and/or broad tones. This gives the instrument a unique “personality” which the students can learn about and find ways to develop and personalize their playing.
  • Notebook/ Planner: I don’t remember a time where these items were not present at my many years of lessons. My first assignment to Winnie and Alex was asking them to get a notebook to be used only for their music lessons and making sure they bring a pencil every week. The notebook should be used for writing down assignments for the next lesson and making important notes from the lesson, each week. If applicable, the notebook can also be used for the student to record their practice times (Further details about this will be explained in a future post).
  • Pencil: A pencil should always be used when marking on music, because the markings and notes should be erasable when necessary. As the student progresses, previous markings will no longer be applicable – which should be erased to allow additional markings in the future.
  • Metronome: Having a metronome at the lesson and ensuring the student has one at home for individual practice is crucial. Metronome is a device that should be used for all instruments, ages and levels – even the professionals rely on it when playing! It’s a good idea to make sure the student develops a habit of using the metronome when practicing, because it will help the student develop solid rhythmic skills. Metronome guides the student to play in a steady tempo and help the student reach the desired-speed of a piece gradually (Further details about this will be explained in a future post).

Other materials can include: Folder to carry any photocopied music; portable music stand; any and all accessories pertaining to the instrument of choice; mirror to allow the student to see their own posture; and many more.

If you have any additional “basic essential materials” for any type of music lesson, please feel free to make suggestions in the comment section. I’m very curious to see what other teachers and students use to enhance their lesson experiences!

  1. Liz Hoover
    March 13th, 2013 at 02:10 | #1

    I would include a tuner for the younger musician. They can practice tuning their instrument and little by little they won’t need one anymore. I feel like the green (too sharp) and red(too flat) lights are a good visual in training.

    Going along with the pencil idea, I would add…colored (erasable!) pencils. Sometimes if you keep missing an annoying part over and over it can help focus your attention better when that spot is coming, or help you remember to practice it. Also it can help organize. For instance, red sections need more vibrato, green sections need intonation work, etc.

    • Jiyoung Won
      March 18th, 2013 at 18:56 | #2

      Hey Liz – Yes! Tuner is definitely a great tool to have, especially for the younger students. Thanks for the tip! :)

      I also like the color pencil idea. Now that you mention it, I’m starting to remember my own teacher circling things in red because I messed it up so many times. Color coding sounds like a good idea – keeps everything more organized and helps the student place more focus on certain things!

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