Topic: Getting started doing lesson part two
Here’s my second part to getting started doing lessons, continuing from the first:
More dos and don’ts:
- Do let your students watch you play. Students like to see how things are played, it helps immensely in learning technique. So don’t be afraid to doodle around and jam with your students. My teacher at university did this for 20 minutes or so every class, and I didn’t get it at first.
- Don't be too critical. (Better to say "You know X well" than, "Oh, you really suck at X"). Don't give too much praise either, wait till you see some improvement, or they just get one new thing right.
- Do repeat, repeat, repeat;
-for theory: it may be clear in your head, but many musical concepts are confusing and your student may be saying "Ok, yes, yes" but not really getting it. This especially applies to relative ideas (i.e. when the answer depends on multiple variables – for example: If you are in D minor, what scales could you play over the major dominant of Dm? These things take a long time to sink in.)
- for technique: have them copy you first, and then play the riff three times in a row without a mistake by themselves. Tell them when they get it right. And revisit things that they have learned previously.
Here’s what you should ask in the first (or first few) lessons to find out what a student knows, and doesn’t know:
- Do they, or have they played another instrument? Do they sing?
Ask them to play:
- a song they know
- some riffs they know
- You can see what they like, and a bit about their technique and knowledge.
- see if they can copy some easy chords you play
- see if they can copy a riff you play, this is mostly to see how good their ear is but also: can they bend? slide? sweep? finger pick? use legato style? Phrasing?
Ask them to play:
- Chords (G, E, Am, B7, #F7, bBm, C7/9, bDsus4/7/#9) Increase the difficulty until you find what they already know, and what they don't already know. Make a note of where to start (with what they already know to make sure they know it well, and some new stuff so they are getting their money’s worth.)
- Scales (same thing, C major, E minor pent, then harder: #C Phrygian #6)
- Ask them to read a rhythm
- Can they read a cheat sheet, TAB, treble clef
- Ask them how many sharps or flats in the key of X
- Ask them what the flat 5 interval of bB is
- Ask them to name the note or chord you are playing
- Ask them to tell you the intervals and/or note names in the chord X
…. And so on, this list is endless. The idea is to find the limit of what they know.
Two more things I think are important:
There is a learning curve, young people learn faster. At about 11 people learn the quickest, a bit older if you are talking about complicated theory type things. So if you have a talented student, give them something that's a step or two up in terms of difficulty, but don't tell them that it's hard. If you have a retired person who always wanted to learn but never had the time, go for something easy, and be very supportive and patient.
I recommend not having your students pay after every class, or in advance. Do some classes, then mention money. The idea being to not stress out your students, you want them to keep coming back, and teaching guitar is not the road to riches, So you should be pretty laid back about money anyway.
Should I do a third lesson? Hmmmm …. Yeah!