A music tutor is a music teacher who typically operates out of a student's home or a private studio. Teaching voice and instrument lessons, the music tutor educates the student about rhythm, pitch and tempo. Other areas, such as melody and the history of music, are often taught by a music tutor. The tutor is typically able to hear tonal imperfections and can give criticism on methods to correct the problem. Music theory and phrasing are also taught to students to aid in their ability to create musical and melodic sounds.
One of the most important jobs of the music tutor is to teach the student how to read and write musical tablature and notes. Once the student has gained the ability to read music, it is easily transposed from instrument to instrument as the student masters the ability to play new instruments. Mechanical devices, such as the metronome, assist the music tutor in teaching the students about rhythm and timing. Occasionally, a teacher will equip a student with a wooden block and a single drumstick; the student is instructed to practice striking the wooden block with the stick on every tick of the metronome. This teaching method is used to instill the musical count into the student's subconscious.
An important component of voice training and singing lessons is the ability to breathe properly when singing. The music tutor will often assign breathing lessons and instructions to a student in an attempt to increase the student's ability to hold notes. Convincing the student to breathe from the diaphragm is one of the most difficult tasks for some tutors. Other aspects of tutoring a vocal student include proper mouth shape and formation when making a given sound, proper tremolo timing and volume control. Some tutors spend weeks teaching a student the proper method of changing voice volume when singing alone or with musical accompaniment.
When teaching students to play an instrument, proper technique in holding and playing the instrument is vital to success. In most cases, manual dexterity must be taught to music students so that both hands are able to master the playing techniques of the particular instrument. Proper tone is one of the most difficult tasks for a music tutor to instill in a student. With most musical instruments, timing, melody and rhythm can be taught to practically every student, however, tone is in the ear of the musician and, for the most part, it either exists or it does not.