In a recent post on Tips for Taking a First Music Lesson, one of the tips I included was to prepare something specific to play. Unless you have never before played your instrument, being ready to perform for a new teacher is crucial to the success of your lessons.
There are only three scenarios for taking music lessons with a new teacher:
1. You have absolutely no experience whatsoever and are looking for guidance to get started. In this case, a new teacher won’t expect you to play for them.
2. You are self-taught and have never had any formal instruction. You want a teacher to speed up the process of learning your instrument.
3. You have experience with both playing your instrument and taking lessons. You may be looking for a new teacher or perhaps you haven’t played in many years and want to start again.
For both the second and third situations, you absolutely must be prepared to perform for a teacher at the very first lesson.
Now, when I say “perform,” I’m not talking about a formal performance. Just be ready to show the teacher what you’re able to play on your instrument. Most teachers don’t care what you play for them. Those that do will let you know ahead of time.
Do not be embarrassed. Do not make excuses. Do not think you can take a lesson without playing for your teacher!
Instead, prepare something ahead of time. During the preparation at home, visualize playing at a lesson so that you’re emotionally prepared to play with someone else in the room. You can’t hide at a music lesson!
Again: Don’t be embarrassed or make excuses.
Expect that the first thing you’ll do at an initial lesson will be to play for your new teacher. If you arrive at the lesson ready to do this, you will get a lot more out of your lesson experience!