While music lessons are an absolute blast, we know that walking into a music lesson with someone you’ve never met before , in a new environment and setting can be a little intimidating. We get it! Believe it or not, we’ve been there before. Just like you, we wanted to put our best foot forward while also staying teachable. We’ve  pulled out our guitar and had to admit we had no idea how to tune it. We’ve sat down at a piano and not been able to find ‘middle C’.

But as Miistro music teachers, it’s our priority and responsibility to make sure that you not only learn your instrument but also have a great time doing it! What good is getting somewhere if you don’t enjoy the journey?

So, I wanted to break the ice and give a glimpse into what a first lesson with a Miistro teacher would be like.

1. I want to get to know you. 

I’m not going to be in any rush to teach you five new scales or three different songs in the first 30 minutes. I want to get to know you; who you are, what you’re into and where you’ve come from. Knowing these things is as important to me as how good you are - or aren’t - at your instrument of choice. 

Commonly, the student is going to come with a parent or guardian. I want to get to know you too! It’s important to me that we have a good relationship and that you understand that we’re partners together in your student learning their instrument. I don’t live in your home, so 6 days a week you become their daily practice reminder!

2. I’m going to try to figure out your knowledge and skill. 

This is probably the most intimidating part. ‘Alright, let’s pick up that guitar and see what we can do.’ The words that you’ve been dreading since you signed up for these lessons in the first place. It’s important to know that I’m assuming that you’re coming from very little musical experience. I won’t be disappointed in you if you can’t immediately play Stairway To Heaven or Moonlight Sonata. If you don’t even know what those two songs are that’s even better! I’m excited to get to come alongside of you on your musical journey and see you grow into a lover of music!

3. I will clearly communicate future expectations and needs. 

The best way that I can help you grow is by communicating what you need to do in your own practice time. I’ll already have your contact info but I’ll also ask you what the best way is to communicate with you. For example, do you want me to email you that arrangement or would you rather me print it out right now for you so that you can take it home? Are you all about looking up songs on YouTube or are you more likely to practice it if I get an MP3 and throw it on a USB drive? The best method is the one that you use.

As a parent, I want you in this first lesson so that you can hear what I’m saying to your student and so that I know that you clearly understand what lessons will look like in the future.

Can you do me a favour? Ask me questions! I don’t want you to suffer through 6 months of lessons and then decide it’s not for you just because you didn’t feel like you could ask a question in the first lesson. I’m here to work alongside of you, not to just show you how it’s done. 

Overall, as your music instructor, I like being your friend but I really want to be your coach. As much as I already like you (Hey! You’re a likeable person!), I want to see you grow and pursue your love for music. I know that you need someone who is willing to challenge and encourage you to keep practicing even when it’s hard.  

I remember teaching my very first vocal student. After around 5 sessions, I realized that the reason why I wasn’t seeing the fullness of what she could do was just because she was nervous to make a mistake in front of me. I took a massive risk and asked her to sing along with me on the bridge of a song that was pretty intense. I asked her to try to do something with her voice that she had never done. She looked a little puzzled but I assured her we’d both be going into new territory together. I then went out of my way to push my voice into a place where… and you can judge me for this later… I knew I would make a mistake. I looked at her and we both had a solid, 1 minute laugh; one of those ‘you’ve gotta take a second and walk away’ laughs. Afterwards, I looked at her and said, ‘See, now you’ve heard me make a mistake. We’re all human.’ For that student, it was a breakthrough moment. 

I hope you see that you’ve got nothing to worry about! This lesson is going to be the first of many that will hopefully launch you into something truly special. I can’t wait to meet you and get started!

*Jon Slater is a piano/voice/guitar Miistro music teacher in Woodstock, Ontario.