“Why should I enroll my student in private music lessons if they’re already in band/choir/orchestra?”
In the simplest terms, think of the numbers. Even if your child is in a smaller program, let’s say 30 students, and the class meets for 45 minutes, there is still only one director. Maybe two. So in any given rehearsal, about one minute could be dedicated fairly to the questions and needs of your child. Now take into account the fact that no one likes to admit that they’re confused or that they need help. With twenty-nine other students to worry about, the chances of a director noticing that your child’s technique is developing bad habits or they aren’t really comprehending the music are slim. It’s no one’s fault, really – it’s just a numbers game.
When you sign your child up for private music lessons, you’re flipping the numbers in their favor. Now there is one student and one teacher, and 30 whole minutes (at least) dedicated solely to his or her technique and comprehension. Even if your child doesn’t want to ask for help or doesn’t know exactly what s/he needs, a private teacher who specializes in the same instrument/voice as the student can anticipate problems. They know what you have to fix to make the music easier, because they’ve been doing the exact same thing for years, possibly even decades. Band and orchestra directors have usually received at least some training on every instrument… but expertise on the level of a private teacher takes years to develop. There just isn’t enough time while obtaining a music education degree to thoroughly learn every single musical instrument.
Now, think about how much more pleasant your life would be if everyone you interacted with knew how to do their jobs and everyday tasks better. You’d never find yourself sitting in traffic because everyone obeys traffic laws and uses their turn signals… sounds like a much easier world to live in, right? Not only are you happier, but the people you live and work with are more pleasant because they live in that same world of fewer mistakes. That’s the kind of atmosphere you are helping to create by enrolling your child in private music lessons. Clarinetists who know their fingerings and cellists who know which bowing to use… all of this reduces the number of questions a director has to answer each day. Less time answering questions gives the director a few extra minutes to take music beyond notes on a page… and trust me, you will hear the difference at the next concert, and you will see the increase in your child’s confidence.