Private music lessons provide beneficial experiences for South’s musicians

Zhaneta Petra, staff reporter

If you were to ask everyone at South what music means to them, you would receive many different answers. Whether students blast music on the radio every morning on their way to school, or play the most intricate pieces on the piano in front of a huge audience, music affects lives on a daily basis. For some students at South, taking private music lessons help them form a stronger connection to music.

Freshman Lia Sellas has been playing the guitar for one year. According to Sellas, she started taking private music lessons in eighth grade because she wanted the one-on-one connection with her teacher that she thought she wouldn’t be able to get with public lessons, such as an elective or extracurricular at GBS.

Sellas believes that a lot of musicians take their lessons privately so they can get a clearer understanding of music and become more skilled with the instruments that they play.  

According to junior Gina Kim, she has been playing the harp for six years, and has been taking private lessons during all of those years. Throughout the years, she says she has gained a close relationship with her instructor, Ben Melsky.

“Music is a very personal, emotional experience and you need to have a connection with someone that you are working with,” Kim said.

According to both Sellas and Kim, the relationship is one of the things that makes them want to keep coming back for more lessons and keep improving. They both say the motivation from their instructors has rubbed off on them, and has helped them become better at playing their instruments.  

Freshman Clare Dunne Murphy is a drummer for South’s drum line, and she takes private lessons on the side. Murphy’s instructor, Lucas Gillian, works at a department called Piano Power. Murphy has been taking private lessons for the drums ever since she has heard about the rock duo ‘The White Stripes’, wanting to follow in drummer Meg White’s footprints.

“For me, private lessons are different than band lessons because [private lessons] are one-on-one, so it is more personal and I can ask more questions,” Murphy said. “Also, I can work on whatever I need and want to work on, not just what the band needs to work on as a whole”.

According to Murphy, taking private lessons on the side has helped her improve her drum skills in a more efficient, quicker way, rather than at band where there are about 50 students that also need to be trained.

Murphy says that she loves playing with Gillian, and enjoys when he plays along with her drums because they act as if they are in a band together. Murphy says that the feeling of being able to play with someone who has had a huge impact on her musical career is a great feeling.

“Probably one of my favorite memories is when I first started playing, [my instructor] taught me how to play a song – it was ‘Seven Nation Army’ – and I got really inspired by that,” Murphy said. “He played guitar alongside of that and that was pretty cool.”

Kim says that private music lessons can be beneficial to all musicians.

“If you can and if you are willing to take one hour, two hours out of your week for private lessons, I definitely would [recommend them],” Kim said.