Starting a new student is always exciting. They don’t yet know all of the amazing music adventures that are awaiting them, but as teachers, we do.
Sometimes that first lesson can be so exciting that it’s hard to know where to start.
Here are five key topics to cover that will get your new musician started off on the right foot.
1. Give Some Background
It’s nice to start off the first violin lesson with some basic facts about the instrument.
Being able to trace the development of the violin back to 1500s Italy will help give students a connection to the past and an understanding of where this stringed instrument tradition came from.
They might also be interested to learn that the violin is, out of all the instruments in the orchestra, the most similar to the human singing voice.
It’s also nice to tell your student a little bit about how you learned to play the violin and why you love it so much. Enthusiasm is contagious!
2. Name the Instrument Parts
The violin and bow have some oddly named parts.
Pegbox? F-holes? Frog? What (and where) are those?
Explaining them to your student now will save both of you some time and effort down the road when you start the process of actually making music.
3. Emphasize Posture
Playing the violin requires a fair amount of contortion. The slight turn of our head, the angle of our wrist, and the way we hold our bow are all pretty unique postures that we really don’t use for anything else in life.
Improper posture can easily lead to soreness, stiffness, or injury, so it’s important to instill healthy habits in our students from the very first day.
4. Explain the Cleanup Process
Unlike a piano, the violin requires some post-practice care.
Students need to learn how to remove their shoulder rests, loosen their bows, wipe the rosin off their strings, and pack their violin safely away in its case.
Teaching these good habits right off the bat at the first lesson will help set them up for future success.
5. Get to Know Your Student
Finally, it’s easy to get lost in the nuts and bolts of all of the above when starting out with a brand new student, but it’s also important to begin getting to know them individually.
I like to ask my students for their birthday, favorite color, and favorite hobbies at the first lesson.
It’s a good way to break the ice and start building a good working relationship with them, which benefits both of us.
What do you like to cover at a first violin lesson? Leave a comment below!