How to Introduce Yourself to Your Music Students for the First Time
Perhaps you have been teaching music for a long time in the same school, but still, this is the first time you are teaching a choir or a marching band. Or maybe you are about to give a trial lesson to a possible new private student. In any case, getting your students to know you for the first time–whether on an online music lesson or in front of a whole classroom full of little children- is never easy!
Of course, if this is your first time ever as a music teacher, it may be a really difficult challenge and you may be a little nervous, but as time goes by and you get experience, you still may find some of these tips useful for engaging with your new students.
1) Show yourself as a musician (but don’t show off)
Students have come to you because they want to learn how to play an instrument. It’s great that you can show them you master those skills! Still, you don’t need to impress them as if they were producers and you were trying to sell them a record. Uploading a video profile of some of your performances is ok, and so it is playing a little bit to show them what they could achieve by taking music lessons with you.
2) Tell something about your personal life (but just a little bit)
It’s great to let your students know you as a person, and not just as an unapproachable music prodigy. You can begin by saying your name and surname, and let them know how you expect them to call you. By the way, if you teach in a school, going by “Ms. Harris” is great, but if you are teaching individual lessons it is ok if you tell them “my name is Joanna Harris, you can call me Joanna”.
While it may be great to share some details students can relate with, sharing overly personal information is not only inappropriate, it also shows a lack of professionalism. Telling your students certain facts, such as your age, where you live, or if you have a pet, is fine. Of course, you can also mention your favorite artists or some songs you like. But avoid getting into personal details such as who do you live with, your marital status, which brand of car you drive, or your financial problems (don’t think about mentioning you really need more music students).
3) Speak about your professional trajectory
As long as you don’t overdo it, it’s fine to mention where you got your degree from, how long you have been teaching, and what instruments you play. After all, you want to present yourself as a professional and establish credibility. But as we said above, you don’t need to sing your own praises. In any case, let your achievements show themselves by being the great teacher you know you are.
4) Smile and sound confident
When you introduce yourself to your new music students, it’s not so much what you say but how you say it. Just as if you were in a job interview (and kids can be tough interviewers, you know), you need to be assertive and kind at the same time. Smile at your students (well, at the camera if you are teaching online), this will make you look calm even if you are feeling nervous. Besides, many studies have demonstrated that people tend to smile back at you when you do, so this will help your students relax and feel cheerful as well.
If your voice feels wobbly to you, your students won’t probably notice it. In any case, if you fear to mumble or suddenly be at a loss for words, it might help you to practice in front of the mirror your introductory speech beforehand. In any case, most people are nervous when introducing themselves to others for the first time, that doesn’t make you less of a great music teacher!
If this is your first time teaching ever (for example, if you have never taught online), you can tell your students that you are still getting familiarized with the new technology and kindly ask them for a little extra patience. Don’t worry! Everything will flow later!
5) Ask and answer some questions (but don’t turn the class into an interview)
After introducing yourself, allow the students to ask you a few questions if they feel like it. Later, you can ask them to introduce themselves. Ask them a few questions about music, which genre do they like the most, if they have any previous experience with the instruments, what are their main learning goals, etc. In any case, don’t do this for over a few minutes. Move on to the teaching part of the class which is, after all, what the students are expecting!
6) Get the students to know you through your profile
You don’t need a huge introduction if the students already have an idea of who you are and how you work. And you can achieve this with a good online profile. For instance, you can sign up for Nabi Music and create a profile including videos and sound files for your potential students to listen to you playing the instrument they wish you to teach them how to play.
Additionally, you can build a page on social networks (different from your personal profile) to which you can upload a few pictures, videos of your favorite artists, tips for your students, etc. Just make sure you only include information you are comfortable sharing with kids. As we already mentioned, you don’t want to get too personal on the details.
Last but not least, in our blog, we invite you to feature one of our new sections, "Melodic diaries" or "Lessons in sessions", which are also great ways of introducing yourself to new students.
Do you have any other tips you could share when it comes to introducing yourself to your music students? If so, tell us in the comments!