Private lessons for band students here at BG have been a supplemental part of the band program for years. Band tutors help band students to master their craft and improve their musical skills.
“An outside tutor helps you get ready for what’s coming later in band,” freshman Nick Hamilton said. “Right now I’m working on soloing and vibrato.”
Andrew Oberhausen is one of the band tutors that provide private lessons for band students at BG. Oberhausen has been tutoring students since 2007 and he mainly focuses on instruments such as the clarinet and saxophone. He tutors all across the district and at middle schools.
“This is my second time being an employee in D214, as I directed the jazz band at BG for six years,” Oberhausen said. “I also student taught at BGHS many years ago.”
Private lesson tutors used to have their own system, which varied from tutor to tutor. According to Oberhausen, his system involved clients/students paying him monthly. Also under his own system, he used to provide lessons all the way until 8:00 p.m.
The start of this semester, D214 decided to try out a new system in which private lessons tutors became employees of the school rather than private contractors. As district employees, full background checks are implemented to ensure safety for all involved. The tutors are then given more access, for example, they are able to get the keys for their practice rooms. However, tutoring must now end at 7:30 p.m. due to security patrols.
Senior Cameron MacMahon has been taking private lessons since freshman year, and according to him, the new private lesson tutoring system and changes have not affected his learning.
“The pros are that it is safer and, although I was never worried about my safety with my instructor, it’s good to have protocols in place to curb liability,” MacMahon said.
Within the new system, the price also increased. The old payment was $25 per lesson, which was often to be paid monthly, like in Oberhausen’s system. According to Oberhausen, private lesson tutors are now given flexibility to set their rates between $25 and $30. There is also an additional $2 fee which goes to the community education. By the end of the semester, depending on how many lessons, a client’s total can be over $500.
Although the price increase is minimal, some students worry about being able to do the same amount of lessons and the overall cost in its entirety.
“It does not affect my learning, but it does affect the cost of my learning,” MacMahon said.
Additionally, tutors are now given a five minute break in the middle of a thirty minute lesson, decreasing the overall lesson time.
“I still learn the same amount of content, it’s just condensed in a short amount of time,” Hamilton said.
Overall, the new system includes only slight changes. The district’s decision is in an effort to make tutoring more efficient and safer for both the students and the tutor.
“I love teaching and working with students in D214,” Oberhausen said. “I’ve taught in a lot of school districts and different cities over the years and the music program here is special.”