Newport Public School

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Private Tuition

It is compulsory for students in the wind ensembles and String Orchestra to attend private instrument lessons (minimum 30-minutes) once per week. Professional tutors can ensure that children learn to play correctly with correct posture and embouchure. A tutor list is available from your ensemble manager to assist you in selecting an appropriate tutor for your child’s age and experience. Correctly matching your child with a tutor will greatly assist with your child's attitude to home practise and general enthusiasm for music. 

Guidelines to choosing a Private Tutor

Instrumental music tutors vary according to their experience, ability and availability. There are a number of key components of musical tuition that should be covered by all tutors and the following information is provided as a guide in choosing a tutor to match your child.

Two important aspects to keep in mind are:

1.     Your child should have some fun at tutorials

2.     Your child should be making progress on their instrument

Sometimes these 2 objectives may conflict but it is important to realise that in music the more progress a child makes on their instrument the more likely it is the child will enjoy the activity. Also, in order for your child to have the opportunity to perform in Newport's most senior ensembles it is essential that a commitment be made to tutoring and home practice during these formative years of their musical development.

The following key components to a music lesson are as follows:

1.Basic music theory – reading music
Theory can be covered by completing theory papers, sitting formal exams or by working through theory issues as they arise in practical playing. Generally a sound knowledge of theory enhances their playing ability.

2. Scales
As a general rule, practising scales is an important part of musical learning. This demonstrates the theory of musical scale construction in addition to providing dexterity development. It can be used as a method of warming up for practise and is normally always used as a warm up exercise at ensemble rehearsals.

3. Rhythm
Rhythm is the ability to correctly time the playing of a musical piece and is essential in an ensemble environment. Tutors use non-musical counting exercises (clapping the rhythm), metronomes (mechanical or digital beat counters) and musical pieces that emphasise aspects of rhythm.

4.Technical work
Technical work is designed to develop coordination and dexterity. Typically the pieces are repetitive. As the musical pieces become more difficult this work becomes more important. For example, there is little point in having great theory and rhythm but being unable to move your fingers fast enough.

5. Dynamics
Dynamics refer to the emphasis on the notes being played to ensure the correct sound is being produced i.e., the tone and strength of the music. Tutors typically develop your child's tonality as they work through a piece of music.

6. Music set by Conductors during rehearsals
Conductors of each ensemble will set music for their group each week. It is a requirement that your child's tutor teach your child how to play the set piece(s) correctly, and to discuss all areas of musicality as per sections 1 to 5 above.

7. Practise
Tutors should provide a practise routine, often written in a music book in case your child forgets what they were supposed to do. This is useful to parents who, ideally, will be supervising practise at home on a regular, and consistent basis in order for correct skills to develop. Aiming for at least 10 minutes per day for 5 days out of 7 and using a metronome will greatly enhance your child's playing ability.

8. Instrument maintenance
Looking after your instrument is vital to ensure it is ready to be played on all occasions of practise, tutoring, rehearsals and performances. Tutors can encourage responsible instrument maintenance in the children by establishing common sense routines for cleaning and checking an instrument.

Finally, ensure you have good communications with your child's tutor. They are normally very enthusiastic about their work and welcome feedback. Sit in on the lesson if you can, who knows it may be the incentive you need to take up an instrument yourself and enjoy this wonderful journey of music with your child.