The idea of starting something new can be intimidating. There is always that fear of being judged, or even a fear of failure. But it can also be tremendously exciting! Today we’re going to have a look at how you can help to make that first music lesson a positive one for you and your child.
Hopefully before you have got as far as the first lesson, you will have taken the time to research a good teacher or institute. We are lucky now in the UAE to have such choice. There is no hard and fast rule for choosing a teacher or institute. But it is always reassuring to hear positive experiences from other parents whose children have worked with them before and it is always worth asking about the qualifications and experience of the teacher. A substantive programme of music instruction, which goes beyond informal music playtime, is also important as it will provide structure to your child’s learning and provide clear goals along the way.
Similarly if you have never played an instrument before and do not know exactly which one you would like to try, it is always worth having a chat with teachers in advance to gauge their views. For example, sometimes it can be helpful for small children to learn a little recorder first before tackling piano lessons.
Every teacher is different, but most first lessons begin with an assessment of where you are in your studies.
At this level, the first lesson will be focused on an introduction to the instrument, for example, how to hold it correctly, proper care and maintenance, proper posture and how to position your fingers. The teacher will want to help your child to become comfortable with your instrument. For voice, this may be the time you learn about breathing and posture. If you are not actually sitting in the lesson, and different teachers have different views on this, always ask the teacher to explain and demonstrate the points covered at the end of the lesson, so that you can help your child practice through the week.
If your child has some playing experience, they may be asked at the first lesson to sight read a piece, so the teacher can really get an idea of the level you are at. In that case, it would be helpful if you bring some books or sheet music you have worked on previously. The teacher will also want to assess the actual technique of your child.
Rapport between student and teacher is very important. Please, ask questions not only about the musical process, also about the function of the school, their policies, and the activities they organize to support your child’s development.
Hopefully you and your child’s expectations and aspirations are the same. But we know from experience they sometimes differ! Please discuss your short and long term goals with the teacher as well, so that they can customize their lessons accordingly, but also provide realistic advice on the commitment levels, from both you and your child, which might be required to achieve these.
By the end of the first lesson, you should have a clear understanding of what books your child will require and what the teacher wants to focus on initially with your child. For example, some children might inadvertently have picked up a small technical bad habit, which needs to be addressed to enable them to move on to the next level in their learning.
It’s good to remember that all parents can play an important role in their children’s music learning experience. Your smiles, hugs, applause, and other signs of encouragement add to the excitement of learning music. We will look further at this and the dreaded word “practice” in future blogs.
This blog is contributed by our guest blogger:
Juan – Carlos Gutiérrez, Piano Teacher at The Music Hub