Raise Your Hand
If You Are A Serious Music Student
I regularly teach community education music classes through the Palm Beach County School system. The classes at Palm Beach Gardens High School are primarily for beginning students, many who have had a limited or no background in music.
At the first class, I usually ask my class to raise their hands if they are serious music students. Each student always enthusiastically raises their hand. I then, ask the question again but this time emphasizing the word “Serious”. I explain to the class that to be successful at playing music, one must have patience and be dedicated to practicing each and every day. A student should practice an hour a day to develop finger strength and follow their instructors advice regarding the instructional materials.
Community education classes offer a unique opportunity for a student to learn an instrument at an unquestionable cost savings. A typical half hour lesson in this area of the country is $32-36. The community education class, which last for seven to eight weeks at an hour per session costs a total of $28-$36 (not including materials). I sometimes joke that the school should charge $500 and refund all but the $28-36, based on perfect attendance. That would create a financial incentive to attend each and every class.
Above is a picture of the latest class of students who started a six week beginning guitar class. Keep in mind that they insisted they were going to be serious guitar students. Yet, if you refer to the picture below, you will see our final smaller group of students who were dedicated enough to at least complete the course. Hopefully they will continue in their pursuit of becoming competent musicians.
I truly believe that at first, students have very good intentions when starting to learn an instrument. In their own mind, they are very serious about learning. Yet, playing a musical instrument is not simple. If it was simple, than becoming a musician wouldn’t be special. As I mentioned above, learning about music requires patience and dedication. For adults, it means accepting the fact that you are once again in grade school and have to place your ego aside and accept your early limitations. However, hard work will pay great dividends. Just read the comments below from those who have made it happen.
I extend my congratulations to these seven students who completed the class. For every class I teach, a handful will step up and become good musicians over time. Hopefully, their enthusiasm will stay with them throughout the many years ahead. I wish them luck.