Teacher Feedback During Music Lessons

Published on 2 June 2024 at 18:13





What type of feedback can music students expect from their teachers?

If you are trying to learn to play a musical instrument or are a student trying to perfect your playing skills and techniques, it is important to have a clear picture of how music lessons help you to do that.

How do music teachers work with a student learning a musical instrument? Is it enough to attend lessons and expect to make progress in music playing without hearing a teacher's input?

The way music learning works is that students usually practice their instruments at home to the best of their ability, trying to perfect the etudes and pieces assigned by their teachers. Once a week, they go to their teacher for a lesson and demonstrate what they have practiced during that given week.

The teacher makes the appropriate suggestions to perfect the pieces further and either recommends continuing to work on them or assigns new ones. This is how a teacher works in music lessons: by checking the existing work and thus building upon previous knowledge, they add new material for the student.

Sometimes, it is possible to misinterpret the teacher's feedback to the student during music lessons. Some students might play their pieces during their music lessons and expect only praise from their coach or music teacher without wanting to hear any suggestions to improve their playing. In these cases, the teacher's feedback is not welcome when they think they have worked hard to prepare for their lesson. The teacher might stop them in the middle of a phrase and make suggestions, which might frustrate the student.

This is a pitfall for some students who are learning music, have acquired some technical ability on their instruments, and have begun enjoying playing and the practice process.

Suggestions given during a particular lesson are valuable resources for individual practice sessions. After a lesson, students can internalize these suggestions and make them their own. Therefore, any constructive feedback that the learner might receive from a teacher, a coach, or a professor during a lesson must be taken home and processed during the entire week. Otherwise, their teacher will not be able to assist them in improving their playing. This process should not be confused with negative criticism.

The following week, the teacher will know that the students have taken the time to practice their suggestions. Now, they can perform better than they could have done a week before, even when that's just one thing they have improved upon. This will ensure their teacher can provide them with further feedback that builds upon the acquired skill, like building blocks.

A good understanding of rapport between the teacher and the student helps clarify the student's performance.

In previous blog posts, I have stressed the importance of practicing, without which progress is impossible in music playing. So, when a student does not take the suggestions, the teacher usually knows and can tell the effort that the student is making or not making. The student should be aware of this aspect. Therefore, comments from their teacher regarding the best way to perform and practice must be welcome. The latter is vital when someone is learning to play a musical instrument.

Therefore, the feedback a student receives from a music teacher is not criticism, but a tool for improvement. In the ultimate sense, all playing has always room for improvement, which is not different for a music student trying to learn how to play an instrument. So, any suggestion from the teacher and a coach should be taken in good spirits and an open mind for learning. Therefore, a teacher's feedback does not concern itself with what the student is doing wrong; instead, it is about how they can do it better.

The journey of music education involves continuous learning and growth, and the feedback students receive is a testament to their progress and potential.

What is your expectation of feedback from a music teacher? Please share in the comments below.

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