We encourage students to continue playing when they make a mistake during a performance, instead of stopping and trying to correct the mistake. Our mantra is "If you mess up, catch up." This gets students to realize right from the outset that they must keep pace with the music, as they will often be performing with other musicians who will not stop at that particular mistake.
We teach students how to learn music. We give them specific tools they can use to learn any piece of music, no matter how difficult it is. The student can use these learning principles and techniques long after they leave the studio atmosphere. Students are also given conditioning and strength exercises to keep fingers limber and stretched so they are able to play for long periods of time without pain. We also give "pop quizzes" from time to time to encourage them to refresh older material, ensuring they don't forget their early lessons.
Students are encouraged to make all of the mistakes they need to make when learning new material. Once all the mistakes are made and out of the way, they can then play the material error-free. During practice and lessons, we stress that students need only learn something once. After that, they can just play it. Our other mantra is "It doesn't matter how long it takes you to learn something — you only have to learn it once."
We realize each student is different and there are many different learning styles. And, depending upon the amount of practice they get between lessons, some students progress faster than others. We don't believe that in week 5, every student should be on lesson 5. Some may be stuck on lesson 2 and others may be at lesson 9. For these reasons, lessons are individualized to each student, ensuring they each progress at their own pace.