How to Structure Your First Lesson with a New Student Before the lesson

Before the lesson…

Click here to find reminders about how to prepare before the lesson.

How to begin:

  • Sometimes the hardest part of any lesson is getting started. Spend a few minutes at the beginning of the lesson getting to know your new student. Questions offer you a way to relax the student and show that you’re interested in learning about them as a person and a musician.
      • What do you love about music?
      • Have you studied music and/or your instrument before?
      • What have you always wanted to play, if anything?
      • Is there a style of music you like most?
      • Who is your favorite artist?

Set Goals for lessons:  

Building short term vs. long term goals for you and your students will help inform how you structure lessons and what kinds of repertoire you’ll teach. Make sure to take lots of notes when asking these questions!

Second half of the first lesson: 

Use this time to determine the musical level at which your new student is playing and to introduce them to your teaching practices and philosophies.

  • If they’ve never held their instrument before, help them find the correct posture, demonstrate correct hand placement or grip, and show them how to tune the instrument.
  • If they’ve had some instruction, have them play a simple melody or set of scales to determine knowledge level.
  • If your student is a vocalist, prepare some simple warm-ups to get an idea of their vocal range, timbre, and fach.
  • Discuss what you see and hear with your student and set up a plan for the next lesson.
  • Assign something small and specific for them to practice to keep them engaged until the next lesson. Write their assignment on a fun card, in a practice journal (if they already have one), or email their parents.
  • Click here for how to set healthy practice goals.
So what happens next?  Click here for more information about what to do during your first lesson.