How Learning Styles Translate to Music Lessons

It’s common knowledge that different people have different learning styles. It’s also not uncommon for one person to prefer a mix of several learning styles. Others may find that they prefer to use certain learning styles in different settings. There is no perfect combination for everyone, nor are these styles set in stone. And it’s not just in a classroom settings – music teachers and students should consider these different styles within private lessons, also. Here are some ideas for accommodating different learning styles:

Visual learners often have the most success learning music through pictures and images. They process information through spatial reasoning techniques.
Strategies and Tips: Look for opportunities to use visual learning materials in your music lessons as often as possible. Teachers, if you’ve been primarily explaining the concept through verbal and auditory means, consider visual options to foster a deeper understanding. Students, don’t forget pencils to mark up your music, or even more eye-catching visual tactics like colored post-it notes.

Aural or auditory-musical students learn best through sound and music.
Strategies and Tips: This one is pretty straightforward, since students who are interested in learning music through private music lessons either prefer this style or at least have an interest in bettering their skills in it! To push yourself further, listen to genres you may not usually listen to, and concentrate on auditory patterns, improvisation lines, and enhancing your musical ear.

Verbal or linguistic learners opt to use words prominently through both writing and speech in their learning.
Strategies and Tips: For many types of private music lessons, it may be more natural to provide modeling through auditory and visual means, such as playing a piece of music yourself or playing a recording of it. Verbal learners may benefit from a written component, as well. For example, if you are teaching scales, don’t be afraid to seek out written worksheets that your students can use during their lessons as well as at home. Students, deepen your connection to a piece of music by writing in a journal about the overall tone, or write out some lyrics.

Physical or kinesthetic learners prefer to use their sense of touch to learn.
Strategies and Tips: Consider the sensory elements of your private lesson space. Physical learners may pick up on sensory components that do not affect most people. If a student is having trouble learning music because of a physical aspect of a room, for example, look for simple fixes, such as providing a different type of seat or getting rid of distractions.

Logical or mathematics-oriented learners process information through reasoning and logic.
Strategies and Tips: While

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many students may accept the merit of new skill set, such as learning new key signatures or an alternate fingering, logical learners often need further explanation. Why is this skill important? How will they be able to apply it to other aspects of learning music? Take the time to delve into their curiosity so they get the reasoning for staying motivated with their learning. Students, if you’re not understanding a concept (or why learning it is important), make sure you ask your teacher for more information.

Social or interpersonal-oriented students enjoy working in groups and with other people on a regular basis.
Strategies and Tips: Even if you teach or take private music lessons, there are many social opportunities for music out there! Are there local youth orchestras or bands in your area? Teacher, do you have other private students who might want to meet up with each other? Encourage your student to take advantage of these opportunities as much as possible.

Solitary or intrapersonal learners prefer to work by themselves with self-study methods the majority of the time.
Strategies and Tips: This learning style caters naturally to the private music lesson format.

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Seek solitary performance and competition opportunities for these students, and don’t force them to participate in group learning or duets if they’re not comfortable.


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