Below is some general guidance on how to give music lessons, including potential learner anxieties, notes on encouraging learners to contribute and a self-evaulation checklist to ensure your sessions run smoothly.
Many people are very nervous when playing a new instrument. It is critical to be patient with them, and build their confidence through encouragement and praise. Your ultimate goal is to help the learner become comfortable and confident with the instrument, even if they occasionally make mistakes.
Learners are more likely to engage when:
To determine how your learner feels the lessons are progressing, ask open ended questions such as these:
If you have any homework for the learner, spend time discussing how they should tackle it. Remember: the learner may not have time to practice extensively, or indeed may not have the inclination to do so! Homework density must ultimately be decided on their terms.
Avoid spelling out the answer to an unresponsive learner. Instead, try framing the question in a different way. Give some encouragement: learners can become disheartened and cease trying if they think their efforts are futile. Re-evaluate the task you are setting them and make sure it's manageable.
As you work with more clients you may wish to start self-evaluating to remember what worked/what didn't, in addition to any client feedback you've received on the site. Below is some food for thought to help your introspection:
|How well did I .....?||Very Well||Satisfactory||Could Be Better|
|Prepare for the session|
|Get the session underway (establish aims, etc)|
|Ask questions and prompt the tutee|
|Handle the tutee's comments and questions|
|Respond to the tutee as an individual|
|Keep the focus on the main topic|
|Help sustain tutee interest|
|Provide help when tutees encountered difficulties|
|Ensure key points were drawn out|
|Bring things to a close and set out practice homework|
If you are new to giving private music lessons you are welcome to register with First Tutors: Music to attract potential clients. During the registration process you will be asked to declare which instruments you wish to teach, how much you will charge and to tell new learners about your approach. You will also be required to submit two references and some information for an ID check.
We urge new teachers to think carefully about which instruments they offer and the level to which they feel they can comfortably offer lessons. We invite learners to give feedback about their teachers, so that the teacher benefits from positive recommendations. Obviously, if you are teaching an instrument that you are not terribly confident in, this feedback may not be so positive! We recommend you focus on your strengths and build your reputation upon them, instead of being a jack-of-all-trades.
Your first lesson with a new tutee counts for a great deal. But before you even get this far, make sure your new tutee has a positive view of you. When a learner chooses you, reply as soon as you can, even if it is to reject the enquiry. If you've arranged lessons, and your details have been exchanged, follow this up a quickly as you can! Learners are often anxious when seeking a music teacher and will look to commence lessons as soon as possible. Not keeping an appointment, showing up late or arriving ill-prepared are all ways to lose a client before you've even started!
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