If you’re taking music lessons for the first time, you’ll quickly find out there is so much more to learn than just the notes on the staff. As a Student Support Counselor at TakeLessons, I chat with new music students all the time. From my conversations, I’ve found that the students who progress the most right off the bat tend to be students who carefully prepared for their lessons before they even started. What are these savvy students doing to ensure that everything goes smoothly? Read on to find out the 5 things you can do to get the most out of your first music lesson…
1. Get an instrument! It seems obvious, but having an instrument to practice on at home will make a huge difference in the quality of your music education. Although some teachers will have instruments available for you to play at their studio, if you only play at your lessons you won’t see much improvement. If you’re reluctant to buy an instrument before you know if music lessons are really for you, look into renting one from a local music shop. Make sure you have an instrument to practice on before you take that first lesson and it will make a huge difference in the rate of your progress.
2. Do your homework. Do some research and learn a bit about the care and maintenance of your instrument. You don’t want to spend your first lesson learning how to tune your guitar; you want to start playing music! There are lots of great resources online that can help you prepare yourself and your instrument for that first lesson.
3. Ask your teacher. Give your teacher a call before the lessons begin and ask him or her what they recommend you do to prepare. Every teacher is different and may expect different things. Find out what music books they teach from and ask them if there are any other supplies they recommend.
4. Practice the commute. If you are going to your teacher’s studio for lessons, practice driving there around the time of your lesson. Make sure you know how to get there and how long it takes you with traffic. Few things are more disappointing and frustrating than losing precious time in your first lesson because you got lost or hit unexpected traffic.
5. Check your expectations! You probably don’t remember when you learned to speak, but I’m sure your parents will tell you that it was a long process. Your first words didn’t come out perfect (unless you’re an amazing genius!) and it took you a long time to be able to really express yourself. When you’re learning music, you’re learning a new kind of language. Have patience with yourself and don’t expect to be a virtuoso by next week. Don’t be hard on yourself; embrace the learning process. Students who keep a good attitude and persevere tend to make the most progress, even as early as the first lesson!
Teachers, what do you recommend students do to prepare for their first music lesson? Give us your tips in the comments!
–Megan L. TakeLessons Staff Member and Blogger
Photo by ColtFan909