Thursday, March 24, 2011

New Student Orientation

     I started a new student today. And I'm wondering if I am the only one who has just a little bit of a nervous feeling in my stomach when I'm about to meet a new student?  All these questions run through my head: "Will we 'click' as teacher and student?"  "Will he/she feel intimidated because I'm so young or because I'm his/her age?"  "Will I be able to draw out his/her potential and help her excel?"  "Will he/she keep at it and not get discouraged?"  So I took a few moments to pray today as I always do right before my lessons each week. I know that God sent this student my way (it was a very direct answer to prayer!) and I know He'll give me the strength and wisdom I need to instruct him on this musical journey.

     I have a policy that I review with new students/parents. You can view it at the top of my home page where it says "Studio Policy."  But I don't just shove that in their face~ we talk first, getting to know each other. Below are some questions I discuss with a new student. I teach mostly adults, and in the case of a child I would ask the parents some of these questions:

*Are you allergic to cats? If so, I banish the cat to the basement. :)  
*Tell them a bit about myself and my own music experience and goals.
*Ask them if they have any experience in music/ music training. If so, what instrument?
*What is their favorite type of music?
*Why did they decide to learn to play the piano?
*Do they have any specific goals in mind for their piano skill (career,  hobby, church musician, piano performance, etc.)
*What kind of piano do they have at home? When was it tuned last?
*Do they own a metronome?
*If they have a keyboard, I ask how many keys it has, if it has weighted keys, if it has a pedal and a built in metronome.
*Do they play by ear? If so, I ask them to play something they know for me.
* I also give them a simple musical test to see what, if any, terms and musical signs and notes they recognize and understand. This helps me know where to begin working with them.  

     After our orientation time, I give them a practice record chart and an assignment notebook. I also give the student a chance to ask questions or express concerns about their schedule.  I don't usually charge for the first lesson, and it is not always the full length of a normal lesson.  

     Bottom line, first impressions are important!  I teach mostly students from the city, and the first time I meet them in person is when they come to my door for their first lesson. So I try really hard to put them at ease in  that first meeting. I am happy to say that today's new student orientation went well- both of us seemed at ease.  Just another reason to love teaching!



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