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Visiting but NOT Taking a Lesson

LindeLinde Registered User Posts: 133 Junior Member
edited August 2009 in Music Major
My son is just beginning his junior year. We are planning to visit our first college at the end of next month. Faculty there are happy to give lessons to prospective students but, for a variety of reasons, my son would prefer not to take a lesson at this point. I've read lots and lots about the benefits of taking lessons. Is there a downside to not taking a lesson? (For what it is worth, if he gets serious about applying to this school, we can afford for him to re-visit next fall and take a lesson then.) Thanks for your thoughts. Linde
Post edited by Linde on

Replies to: Visiting but NOT Taking a Lesson

  • SJTHSJTH Registered User Posts: 1,892 Senior Member
    While I think the prospect of taking a lesson from faculty prior to applying is fantastic, my son didn't have sample lessons at ANY school to which he applied, as he only visited most schools during auditions, and chose not to complicate the process (his words not mine) by adding the stress of a lesson too. I personally think a best case scenario would be--and it sounds like you have this luxury--visit school and see if you're interested in them, THEN narrow the choices and take a lesson if you can, either at audition time or another visit. Plus, his playing can improve immensely in a year, so a lesson now would probably not show him at his best.
  • shennieshennie Registered User Posts: 2,467 Senior Member
    I don't think there is a problem with visiting and not taking a lesson.
  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 72,257 Senior Member
    When DS was a sophomore in HS, we began looking at music schools with him. He did NOT take lessons on any of these trips. When he had his list of schools more firmed up....he took lessons with applied faculty where he was applying (six schools...he already knew the 7th teacher). No downside to it at all.
  • violadadvioladad Registered User Posts: 6,645 Senior Member
    If you can afford a revisit, it don't see it as a major stumbling block. He may not like the school, or somehow just it or he doesn't just "fit".

    The downside is he may lose input on some things to work on now, that he has time to work on to correct/improve. Waiting till the tail end may put pressure on him during prep and audition time, particularly if a number of trial lessons indicate similar (potential) weaknesses or areas of improvement.

    The flipside is he (or his private instructor) may not feel he is ready to do this now. This is ok, some still need some work to be personally comfortable in feeling they are ready to display their skills. But I would also look for signs of lack of confidence on his part. Some are chomping at the bit, others a bit more reticent. If you see this reluctance as an issue in the future across a couple of visits at other schools, then you may need to probe and question. I put this in the "know your kid" category.

    The other thing to think about is total number of potential schools and visits. If you have "lots", timing and scheduling can get tricky, and can interfere with school and local musical commitments.

    There's still time, but it does disappear quickly, particularly during senior year.

    Just some points to ponder.
  • Mezzo'sMamaMezzo'sMama Forum Champion Music Major Posts: 3,557 Forum Champion
    We started the "serious" visits in the fall of D's junior year and I think you are making a really smart move by beginning now. All of the advice given above is excellent and there are good reasons for and against, taking a lesson at this early stage. D did take lessons at that time, but, music combined with academia can make for a nomadic life and there is no guarantee that the prof he takes a lesson with now will even be there next year! In fact, that is exactly what happened to my D; she really liked a teacher at the school which became her first choice and she kept up a correspondence with him all during the time leading up to the fall of her senior year, when he upped and left for a school far away. Luckily, she is in the studio of a wonderful teacher now and is pleased to finally be there, but, it was that visit while a junior that made that school stand firm in her mind. It's great that you are in a position to be able to send your son back for lessons, if needed, so I say, go for it, look around at your leasure now, take a tour, talk to students, make sure to check out the practice rooms too, since he'll be spending a lot of time there. Enjoy and let us know where you are visiting- some schools are still really fresh in our minds, either from visits or from making the trek to move our kids into dorms, and since this is such a friendly group, we're always willing to share!
  • LindeLinde Registered User Posts: 133 Junior Member
    Thanks everyone. I'll certainly share the details.
  • POTO MomPOTO Mom Registered User Posts: 517 Member
    The only thing I can add to all this great advice is that the more opportunities your child has to perform for teachers the more comfortable he will be when it really counts. After all the visits we have done and lessons we have taken, my child's confidence and maturity has really grown and she has learned how to work effectively with teachers and accompanists she has just met. It's something she would never get from her regular weekly lessons. If your child is hesitant because he's shy, I would say "bite the bullet" now so that he can start on that road to confidence.
  • opera-momopera-mom Registered User Posts: 382 Member
    Agreeing with what Mezzomom said about the practice rooms....make sure your son looks at them....maybe even plays/sings (whatever he does) in them....We visited a school the summer before senior year...liked it well enough she applied there....she had seen the practice rooms...not great...but didn't actually go in/sing in them....when she went for her audition the school was taken off of her list because she HATED the practice room when she warmed up...(a music student spends a huge amount of the their life there...they better at least like the room they will be secluded in)
  • -Allmusic--Allmusic- Registered User Posts: 6,350 Senior Member
    Ditto on the practice rooms. Some people don't mind windowless cubbies, but those conditions are hard on some musicians. Likewise, it is a good idea to check out the rehearsal spaces. My son had a jam session in one school in a room with no windows and extremely poor ventilation. It was uncomfortable! I asked the other guys if this was a typical rehearsal space, and they said that they used it all the time. That school was dropped from my son's list (not just for the practice rooms though; he didn't particularly click with the teacher either). One would never know these things without the visit.
  • Singersmom07Singersmom07 Registered User Posts: 4,071 Senior Member
    Yep - practice rooms are important. DD has found it really hard to practice if she hears too many others around her. Some walls in rooms she tried were virtually cardboard she said. Where she is now, when you are in a room you barely hear anything else, if at all.
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