Learning to share is one of the first skills we’re asked to master as children. We might love the toy, or the swing, or having complete control of the TV, but if we want to have friends and be, you know, functional adults, we eventually have to let someone else have a turn. This is especially true in aerial class. There’s up to six of you, one instructor, and generally not enough trapezes that you can commandeer one for the entire length of class. But wait! There is a way that you can stake out a set of silks as YOURS ALONE, at least for an hour. Welcome to the wonderful world of private lessons, where sharing is no longer necessary.
As you might imagine, the price tag for a private lesson is a little higher than what you pay for a group class, but it can be worth it to have your instructor’s undivided attention. Here are a few scenarios where, if you have the extra dough to spare, investing in privates can make a huge difference in your training:
You’re Struggling with a Particular Skill
Are pullovers the bane of your existence? Have you been working on straight arm inversions for months and just not getting there? Booking a few private lessons can be extremely helpful when you’re trying to master a skill. During a private, you can dive way deeper into basic (and not-so-basic) skills, taking all the time you need to work through various progressions. Your instructor can target conditioning exercises to help strengthen the muscles you need and give you specific exercises to do at home to continue making progress.
A calmer, quieter studio can also make a difference — we all feel pressured when there’s a roomful of people watching us work through a challenge, even when we know they’re pulling for us. Plus, allowing your instructor to focus on you and what your body is doing gives them additional insight into how to help you achieve your goals.
You’re Working on Something Special
Planning on performing in the next student showcase? Need help stringing your ideas and skills into something cohesive? Whether you’re starting from scratch or looking to give a finished routine that extra polish, private lessons are great preparation for performance. Your instructor can help you sequence moves together, find a character to play or a story to tell, and watch you run your routine over and over, offering encouragement and constructive criticism to make sure you shine in the spotlight.
Your Schedule’s Impossible
Sometimes our schedules just don’t align. If work has you in and out of town or your favorite series interferes with your kids’ bedtime, ongoing private lessons might be the best way to get regular instruction. If this is the case, see if you can rope a friend or two in with you to share the cost and make things more social — you might not want your own lyra (and all the pullups that come with it) for an hour. Private lessons can be a great way to stay in prime aerial shape even when life gets hectic and to keep up with curriculum, so you can hop back into series classes when your schedule permits. But be warned, some students find that private instruction is so beneficial, they decide to make it a permanent part of their training!
Be On Time
In fact, show up early. If you’re a seasoned student, you know how to warm up. Arrive 10-15 minutes prior to your lesson, do a little cardio to get your blood pumping, and work through your major muscle groups so that everything is warm and ready to go. When your lesson starts, you can go straight to warm-ups on the apparatus or your instructor might have some additional floor exercises for you depending on what you’re focusing on that day.
If you don’t feel comfortable warming up on your own, that’s okay! This might be the first thing you ask your instructor for help with. Show up early anyway to account for any possible traffic or parking issues and take a few minutes to mentally prepare for your upcoming lesson. You don’t want to rush in at the last minute (or after the lesson has started) stressed and frazzled because the parking lot was full.
Give Your Instructor a Heads Up!
If you want to spend the hour mastering meathooks, tell your instructor a few days ahead of time. It’s possible they have already have an entire plan for progressions, conditioning exercises, and stretches that will help make this skill easier. Or they might want to do a little research, revisit meathooks in their own practice, even talk to other instructors about how they teach this skill. Giving your instructor advance notice allows them to be better prepared to help you achieve your goals.
Do Some Routine Research
Maybe you want help with an upcoming routine. As we mentioned last week, it might be anywhere from nearly finished to just getting started. If it’s the former, bring your music and know what you want feedback on. Is there a messy transition you’d like to clean up? A section of choreography that doesn’t quite match the music? Do you just need someone to call out when you microbend your knees or stop pointing your toes? Let your instructor know what you want help with and what you don’t.
If you’re still in the beginning stages, put together a list of skills you feel very comfortable with, as well as one or two you haven’t quite mastered yet but would like to include. If you have music in mind, send it to your instructor in advance. If there’s a particular style you’d like to emulate, try to find a video that shows what you have in mind. Anything helps! If you’re having trouble deciding what type of routine you’d like to do, narrow it down to a few choices, then spend the hour trying them out with your instructor to see what feels most enjoyable and maximizes your innate abilities (or pushes you out of your comfort zone!).
Always Be Prepared
If you don’t have a specific goal in mind, it still helps to do some quick prep beforehand. Check in with your body — what’s sore today and could use some TLC? Is there a skill you can’t quite remember and want to revisit? Something you saw on Instagram that you’d love to learn? Having even a basic idea of what you want to get out of the lesson will help your instructor structure your hour.
Private lessons are a big investment. Showing up early and being prepared will help you capitalize on that investment and get you the payoff you’re looking for. Interested in trying them on for size? Contact the front desk or talk to your instructor about scheduling.