How do you determine the best individual lesson length for your child?
Simply put, if you are beginning to question if your child needs a longer lesson, your child probably needs a longer lesson!
Your child might also be making comments such as “that was short!” Or when you tell them to back up, they reply with, “already?” Things may feel rushed, or there might not feel like enough time to ask or answer questions.
For progress to occur, all items currently being studied should be addressed in each lesson. Items not covered in each lesson are not practiced during the week and therefore, no progress is made in those areas.
Your lesson should be long enough to cover at least one item in all of the following categories (see below). If we are not able to fit all of these categories into each lesson consistently, your child needs a longer lesson. Your child will also need a longer lesson if things feel rushed and we are not able to dive deeply into topics.
- Category 1) Time to answer any questions.
- Category 2) Flashcards, ICRM book 1, Sight-reading, Position Etudes, Geringas Shifting
- Category 3) Bow hold, violin hold, Technique & scales. Some of these items maybe covered in review pieces.
- Category 4) Review pieces, performance pieces.
- Category 5) preview spots to new pieces. Listening to recordings of new/upcoming pieces.
- Category 6) current piece/ working piece. The newest piece you can play in its entirety. We are putting it together with piano accompaniment or memorizing.
You’ll want to also consider if your child is auditioning for anything such as a youth orchestra. Perhaps they are prepairing for a competition or exam, If so you may want to consider increasing their lesson length so that they can prepare for the upcoming event but also keep up with their technique and repertoire work so that the following year they can enter into a higher level category.
Last, consider the length of the pieces your child is currently playing. Longer pieces require more lesson time so that they can simply be played through at the lesson.
Here are some general guidelines:
15 minute lessons:
– Pre-twinkle through early book 1
– using flashcards for note reading/rhythm
30 minute lessons
– early book 1 to the end of book 1
-Most families consider 45 minutes around étude because the book 1 pieces from here on, increase significantly in length. Étude through the end of book 1 can work well in both a 30 minute or 45 minute lesson, it does depend on the child.
– Working in the I Can Read Music vol 1 by Joanne Martin.
45 minute lessons
– Books 2 & 3
– Working in the I Can Read Music Vol 2
– Book 4+
– Geringas shifting
– other étude books