Private lessons can be like paying for college…1 week at a time

By John Gardner

Private LessonsA few years ago I was sitting in the driveway of my son’s trumpet teacher writing out a check.

The teacher had requested going from a half hour lesson to an hour. I recall the teacher’s response when I asked if there was a discount for the double-session…..

You get me for twice the time at twice the price.

As I wrote out the check, I shared a sentiment with my son,

I consider this an investment in your college career. I hope I am paying for your college one week at a time….and by the time you’re ready to graduate that you will be good enough that a college will pay for you.

He worked — and his did. This video is a portion of his senior recital. He had the flashy stuff too, but I thought his tone was fantastic….. I had the honor of guest conducting his high school band, which accompanied him on this same piece during his high school final semester.

Private lessons (coaching / mentoring) provides much more than that…

…even for students who will NOT be majoring in music in college.

  • 1-1 mentoring with someone who is hopefully not only a good musician, but a good role model. This person is going to have your child’s ear for 30-60 minutes of focused time per week. That may be more than what you get.
  • Accountability. Band students can sometimes get through an ensemble rehearsal less than prepared, but going into a private lesson can be a brutal experience for the unprepared student.

I will provide you with private lessons….until the day you show up here unprepared. -Robert Roden (my high school clarinet teacher)

  • Higher level skills training. There is only so much that a band director can do in a large ensemble setting. Your music coach should be an expert that can give you more specific, personalized and advanced training.
  • Provides your student a confidant. I can’t begin to calculate how many times over the years that at least part of my clarinet/sax coaching didn’t involve discussions about life; boy/girlfriends, jobs, parents, family, college hunt, etc.

Sometimes it is just as important to help clear a teenagers cluttered mind filled with intense drama (to him/her) so that he/she can better focus on the music task at hand. 

  • Specific help when needed on auditions, solo music, chair challenges, etc… that the classroom teacher may not be able to provide.

Take a deeper look =====> Individualized Music Coaching: Why, When, Where, With Whom, How Often and How Much

Thanks for reading,


Colleges pay

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17 yrs experience as a high school band director. 14 yrs as college adjunct faculty. 30+ yrs in the fundraising industry and 24 yrs as a small business owner. (Don't add all those up.). Experience in both the fundraising sales and education worlds give me a unique combination of perspectives in both. I love working with the youthful enthusiasm of today's teenage achievers and with those who work with them. Also 4yrs as proprietor of, which offers a wide variety of virtual services including web/blog design/hosting/managing, social media management (scheduling posts/tweets for maximum impact and brand enhancement) and small business consulting - specializing in school product fundraising.

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