Why make up lessons and substitute teachers?

Offering make up lessons for music lessons missed due to scheduling conflicts or illness and substitute teachers when your teacher is not available are two of the many things we do to help keep your lessons consistent. Consistency is one of the most crucial considerations in learning any new skill. Second only to practicing at home, consistent weekly lessons are essential for keeping students of all ages and abilities on track and accountable.

These days we all live very busy lives. Juggling schedules has become a way of life. We understand that attending your weekly music lesson, should be a priority but often it can not be the top priority. Mom’s meeting at work, school obligations, doctor’s appointments and practices that involve team participation are examples of things that can not be expected to be rescheduled for us. Music lessons that are private in nature, can be rescheduled and so we try our best to be as flexible as possible in exchange for you being as committed to your lessons as you possibly can.

On the subject of commitment please keep in mind that what you are paying for is your teacher’s time. A lesson is a block of time with a teacher, an expert who can guide you in your studies. Ideally we each owe one another respect in all relationships and one form of respect is to value the time that has been set aside for you enough that you are unwilling to squander it away (either by not showing up or by showing up unprepared). Remember that in most instances, any time that you are absent from your lesson, the teacher is still there for you because that time slot has been reserved for your lesson. By offering make ups for missed lessons we are asking teachers to be available for a second time slot despite the fact that they are only paid for the first one.

Despite that, we do offer make up lessons for the reason indicated above. We feel strongly enough about the importance of what we do and providing consistent lessons that we recognize the necessity to offer you as much scheduling flexibility as is necessary to allow you to make the commitment to study music. The more consistently you attend your lessons, the more progress you will make, the more satisfaction you will derive from your studies and the less frustration you will suffer.

Sometimes teachers too, face scheduling conflicts which keeps them from being available to teach. When that occurs we hire a substitute. Unless the regular teacher suddenly becomes ill they will plan for any absences, provide us with as much notice as possible and provide the substitute teacher with as much information about your lesson as possible. Many teachers will keep a log of your lesson and practice assignments both for you and as a reminder for themselves. That same log can be of tremendous value to a substitute teacher in determining what you should be working on at home and at your lesson. We do expect our teachers to make the students they teach their top priority but even so, we have to understand that on occasion it will be necessary for them to take time off and we understand as long as they remain committed to being present most of the time.

Like make up lessons, substitute teachers are necessary to keep your lessons on a consistent schedule. Substitute teachers are qualified professional musicians and teachers. Obviously they are not the exact same as your regular teacher. Though most of us don’t like change, having an occasional lesson with a different teacher offers you the extremely valuable opportunity of being exposed to a new and different perspective, one that just may help you to see something in a way you may never have before; the same concept but in a new light, one that resonates with you, enlightens you, opens your eyes to a new understanding. Your lesson with a substitute teacher will be different in many ways but it will provide the same overall benefit of keeping you on track in your studies.

Your regularly recurring lessons with your teacher are your guide and like your GPS, are there to help you determine the best path for you to take with frequent re-calculations for accidental wrong turns, traffic jams and road blocks. Your journey is long and needs to be reevaluated periodically. It will not proceed in equally measured units or at the same pace over time; sometimes the road will be smooth and dry under a sunny sky and sometimes you will have to traverse steep mountains, wet roads and tricky turns.  We are all aware of the trouble that would ensue if you kept on driving without your GPS or at the very least a good road map (remember those?).

Consistent lessons and regular practicing is the only way to learn to play a musical instrument properly. We go to our first lesson without a clue about how or where to begin and we trust our teacher to set us on our way. Though we want to learn to play, part of what motivates us to practice is often the desire to go to the next lesson prepared to “show off” what we’ve accomplished and build on the first lesson with a new assignment. We need the teacher’s guidance to keep us from developing bad habits and to keep us on the right path. The teacher has to both encourage us and periodically hold us back while we master a new skill so that when we reach the next step we are ready to grasp it.

When too much time transpires between lessons, we increase our odds of ending up in a ditch. We might pull ourselves out once or twice but eventually frustration can take hold and the only option can seem to be giving up. How much time between lessons is too much? That can vary but generally a regularly recurring weekly lesson is ideal. Even lessons that recur every other week can provide us with the ill-advised opportunity to skip the whole first week of practice; telling ourselves we’ll get back to it next week, in plenty of time for that next lesson. We all know where that kind of thinking leads.  We’re all busy so it’s tempting. We get it. For all of these reasons, we offer as much scheduling flexibility as we can while still working to keep lessons as consistent as possible so that your best progress can be achieved and your goal of playing music can be fulfilled. Our hope is to keep you on track and on a smooth path to success and enjoyment.




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