Four Unique Challenges – Teaching Different Instruments To A Range Of Developing Learners

Teaching a particular instrument to a range of students involves understanding how individual learners develop the skills associated with that instrument.


We know that instruments are radically different in their build and how we interact with them. In fact, it’s instructive to think about that as you’re putting together music lessons or similar kinds of education materials. Just like the interface makes such a big difference in the software world, the interface between you and your instrument matters a lot, too.


Here are four examples of managing specific training for a particular musical instrument.




When it comes to learning the guitar, there are some benefits and some disadvantages facing students.


First, the music theory of the guitar is a little easier than with some other instruments. You can show people a basic tablature of the major chords and they can get going fairly quickly.


Some of the more daunting aspects of guitar involve the fingerings that you need to achieve to create chords and individual notes. If the action of the guitar is too tough, many students will give up almost from the start. That’s something to keep in mind as you fit an instrument to the student. The technicals are often about the physical movement of the hands and fingers.




Here there is also a common sense layout of black and white keys, the make-up of the chromatic scale. One of the big challenges with the piano, though, is to get both hands to work together. There’s a certain psychology that has to click into place here or the student is likely to get discouraged and quit. We work this into our lessons and our curriculum to encourage success for piano learners.




Horns are different, and the saxophone is its very own challenge.


With the saxophone, you have the necessary mastery of technique for getting the right sound out of the instrument and learning the notes and the registers. But some of the accessories and gear that you use matter, for example, in perfecting the right tone for this instrument, and making sure that the sounds that come out are consistent and stable.




The violin as a string instrument is similar to the guitar in some ways. It may be easier for students to learn to put their fingers on the violin the right way, but that’s only part of the challenge. There’s all the bow activity that has to be learned, too, and keep in mind that unlike the guitar, the violin does not have actual frets to show where notes lie on the fretboard.


To learn more, check out our studio at the website at Rochester Conservatory of Music and get your student started on the path to success.


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