What to look for during your child’s trial lesson
So you have made up your mind and schedule your child’s first music lesson! That’s great! It is the perfect opportunity to find out if it turns into a long-term relationship with her new tutor, someone who could expand her horizons and pass down the gift of music. In this article, we’ll give you some hints on what you, the parent, should pay attention to before, during, and after the first music lesson. That’s the best way to decide if you should sign up for more, and take up music lessons regularly, or if you should keep searching.
Check out how your child feels
This is the most important indicator you should pay attention to. Before the class, is your kid excited about having her first music lesson? Is she looking forward to it? Or is she feeling a bit shy perhaps? Later, observe her non-verbal signs during the class: does she smile? Is she paying attention to the teacher? Or is she looking away from the screen? Does she follow directions? Does she seem confident, or confused? And how about after the lesson? If she enjoyed herself, she should be eager to keep learning, and looking forward to the next lesson. If she’s not… well, you may still give the tutor another chance, since it may take some time for the child to connect. But a happy, confident child is the best indicator that something worked just right!
Make sure connectivity is in your favor
Since the pandemic started, most of our students in Nabi Music opt for online music lessons. And ever since, many families have discovered the many advantages of having the class at the comfort of their home. If this is your case, you should pay attention to the way the equipment and the connection are working, before and during the lesson. Try the mic and the camera before the scheduled lesson, and make sure the camera aims at a proper angle in which the teacher can see the way your child holds the instrument. During the lesson, your child should feel comfortable and not observed by you, so give her some space. However, stay nearby, in case she has connectivity issues, loses the audio or the camera, etc.
The importance of commitment
Once you book the trial lesson, save the time and date, and don’t forget to connect on schedule! There is a person on the other side of the screen who has made some special time to teach your child, so commitment is a way of showing your respect. Of course, it goes both ways, as the same applies to the tutor: they should connect to the class at the right time, and if they have any kind of trouble they could not foresee, you should expect an apology. A tutor who forgets about their lessons or isn’t reliable won’t set a good precedent. Don’t worry! You won’t find this problem with our tutors in Nabi Music, as they are all responsible, but it is still something to keep in mind.
Notice attention span and fluctuation
The trial lesson shouldn’t be too long, especially if your child is young and if it’s the first time she takes music lessons. During the half an hour or so that the class may last, look at your child and see if she remains engaged. Does the teacher switch activities in order to avoid monotony, or does your child get bored easily? Younger children usually have shorter attention spans. This doesn’t mean they can’t learn how to play a musical instrument, but tutors should be able to adapt their lessons accordingly. A good, experienced music teacher knows how to keep their young students entertained, and when to make a transition from one activity to another. Whether it is a fingering exercise with their new instrument, a song, or a game, it is always better to leave the child wanting for more, than to wait for them to get tired of something.
The teaching style and the learning style
There is not a single right way to teach, as there is no one single way of learning! Some children are more visual while others need more verbal instructions. Some require more than one way of explaining, while others get things right from the start. During the trial lesson, the teacher will be trying to spot the best possible way to teach your child according to her way of learning. Unfortunately, most times a single class is not enough to tell. The perfect student-teacher rapport takes some time to get established! But you, as a parent, should try and see if at least the tutor shows some degree of flexibility, and how they are eager to reach your child and stimulate her interest during the lesson.
A few words on feedback
When you teach young children, you are not only guiding them in their learning process; you are also helping them build their self-esteem and creating confidence. So any music tutor should provide positive feedback in some way. Your child should feel proud of herself, even if she only managed to play a single note. It’s ok for teachers to correct mistakes, and they should! More important is for them to encourage their students to carry on and making them feel good about themselves.
You should do the same! After the trial lesson is over, no matter how it actually sounded, tell your kid she did great, that you are proud of her, and kindly check how she felt, and if she’s willing to take more lessons afterward. Don’t worry about progress right now!
Hopefully, you’ll both love the tutor and it will be the beginning of a great learning experience. And if you don’t, you can ask for a change. After all, not every student is the same, and while the teacher may be perfectly qualified, he or she may not suit your child’s needs at the time. We hope that these tips will help you make good use of your kid’s free trial lesson.