Why Make Up Lessons Are Not Economical/Beneficial

Although, scheduling a make-up lesson for a missed music class seems like a good idea, if it becomes a common practice, it is actually counterproductive, both musically and economically. "Missing lessons, even if they are made up later, can't help but have a negative impact on the student's playing. Lessons are scheduled regularly for good reason and missing them is to be avoided if at all possible," states John M. Zeigler, Ph.D.

Consistency is so important to mastering any new skill whether it is math, a foreign language, a sport or music. Regularly scheduled lessons give the student the opportunity to learn the new skill, go home and practice, and then be prepared to move on to the next level. The time in between the lesson is spent practicing, reinforcing, digesting and perfecting. It is only at this point that a new skill can be introduced. Like math, music is built on previous skills. One cannot learn long division if they have not learned how to subtract. In music, a student cannot learn a complicated piece if they have not yet mastered a simpler concept.

Not only is the student unable to progress when lessons are missed, but he can actually backslide during the interim. Without that checkpoint that the teacher provides, the student will often practice using a wrong technique or may not know what to work on during the weeks that he does not have a lesson and simply forgo practicing. A student has now doubled the time it will take to undo a skill, regain the skill and be able to move forward. It may take two lessons to undo what they have been practicing wrong or to back up to review what was covered in the last class attended. This is not an efficient use of time or tuition fees. In addition, if this becomes a habit, the student will never have the time and opportunity to integrate the information at a regular pace, will feel left behind, and become frustrated. It is at this point that interest lags and often a student will give up.

Of course, emergencies happen, a child is ill, or his lesson falls on a holiday. That is the time to use a make-up, but should occur only rarely. Even when a child injures an arm or hand, he should attend his class. He can strengthen skills with the other hand, learn theory, and hear new information. The consistency is much more valuable than suspending the lesson. The student not only continues to move forward, but also avoids losing information, backsliding and having to start over again.

Makeups should always be used sparingly. This allows the student to not only move forward at a consistent rate but at the very least to maintain the current level of ability. Attending class regularly is the most efficient way to reinforce current skills, learn new material and to move students into new and exciting levels of their music education.


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