Updated: Aug 22
So you or your child have just signed up for piano lessons—now what? First off, congratulations on taking the pivotal first step toward becoming a pianist! Whether you've enrolled at Descant Music or elsewhere, this exciting decision marks the beginning of a wonderful adventure with music. In this article, we'll walk you through a few things you might want to do or get beforehand, some things to expect during the first lesson, and provide some helpful tips on what to focus on afterward. And to alleviate any nerves you might be feeling, we'll give you insight into the whole process, ensuring that you'll know what to expect every step of the way. Whether you're nurturing a personal passion or supporting a loved one's musical aspirations, we're here to make the experience as smooth and enjoyable as possible.
Before the Lesson: Choosing the Right Instrument and What to Bring
Your first piano lesson is around the corner, and it's time to consider a few essential things. One of the primary decisions you'll face is what instrument you or your child will practice on. Are you thinking about a piano or a keyboard? If you haven't been fortunate enough to inherit the family piano, you'll need to weigh the options between these two instruments. Don't fret; we've got you covered. To help you make an informed choice, CLICK HERE to read our comprehensive article "Keyboard or Piano for Beginners," where we break down the pros and cons of each option.
As a beginner, you won't need to bring a whole lot with you to the lesson. If you have a particular song or piece of music in mind that you'd like to learn, feel free to bring it along. Your instructor will appreciate your enthusiasm and will try to incorporate it into the lesson plan. Additionally, it's always a good idea to get a notebook. Taking notes can help reinforce what you've learned and provide you with something to refer back to as you practice at home. A little preparation can go a long way, setting the stage for a successful and enjoyable learning experience.
II. During the Lesson: An Exciting Start
A. Meeting the Instructor
A friendly introduction with your instructor sets the tone for the entire learning process. Expect to discuss why you wanted to start playing piano, what music excites you, and what songs or bands inspire you. This conversation helps in building rapport and understanding your unique musical goals.
B. Introduction to the Piano
Especially for the complete beginner, the first lesson often includes a basic introduction to the piano itself. You'll learn about the keys, the pedals, and even concepts like going up and down on the piano. At Descant Music, the Faber's Piano Adventure series is typically used to guide this process.
C. Posture and Hand Position
You'll receive guidance on how to sit at the piano and place your hands. Proper posture and hand position are vital for efficient playing and can help prevent strain or injury. This foundational element is essential for all skill levels.
D. Basic Theory and Sight-Reading
Depending on your previous musical experience, this could range from understanding finger numbers and simple dynamics like forte and piano to musical notation and rhythm. For those who are not absolute beginners, there may be an introduction to sight-reading.
E. Playing Some Notes and Chords
Regardless of your starting point, get ready to play! Beginners might focus on simple exercises, while those with more exposure to music might work on scales or even a short piece of music.
F. Customized Approach at Descant Music and Art Studio
Lessons at Descant Music and Art Studio are designed to fit your individual pace, style, and goals. The approach is flexible, accommodating the wide range of beginners, from those who may need several lessons to understand note values to those who might progress more quickly.
Your first piano lesson is a multifaceted experience, tailored to where you are on your musical path. The aim is to provide a nurturing and stimulating environment that fosters growth and ignites a lifelong love for playing the piano.
III. What Not to Expect
A. Instant Mastery
It's natural to want to play your favorite tunes right away, but progress takes time, practice, and dedication. Becoming proficient at piano is a gradual process, so patience is key in developing your skills.
B. A Fixed, Rigid Curriculum
Every student's journey is different, and a flexible approach is often the best way to foster growth. Expect adaptability in teaching methods, particularly if you're learning at a student-focused place like Descant Music and Art Studio, where the curriculum can be customized to your individual needs and pace.
C. A Judgmental or Mean Instructor
It's not uncommon for new students, especially children, to worry about their instructor being mean or judgmental. Rest assured, at Descant Music, all teachers are known for their kindness, patience, and supportive attitudes. They are there solely to guide and inspire you, providing encouragement and constructive feedback to help you flourish.
D. Pressure to Perform Perfectly
Everyone makes mistakes, especially when learning something new. Your lessons will be a safe space where errors are viewed as opportunities for growth, not failures. The focus will be on learning and enjoyment, not pressure to perform perfectly.
This thoughtful approach to teaching aims to provide a positive and nurturing environment that promotes not just learning but a genuine love for music. Whether you're beginning your musical journey at Descant Music or elsewhere, these principles will help ease any nerves and set you on a path to success.
IV. After the Lesson
A. Practice Assignments
Expect to leave your lesson with specific exercises, pieces, or techniques to work on. Consistent practice is crucial for progress, and your teacher will tailor assignments that align with what you've learned and where you're going. These tasks aren't arbitrary; they are designed to reinforce your understanding and enhance your skills. Dedication to practice will lead to tangible growth over time.
B. Feedback and Questions
Your instructor will offer feedback on your playing and will be available to answer any questions you may have. Feel free to seek clarity on anything, no matter how minor or seemingly unimportant. Asking questions reflects curiosity and insight, not bewilderment. It's one of the wisest actions you can take, as it helps your teacher understand how to instruct you more effectively.
C. Utilizing the Student Teacher Portal
At Descant Music, we've incorporated a Student Teacher Portal to foster communication between students and teachers. This portal isn't merely a tool but a vital part of your development. Whether it's recording questions, sharing materials, or linking to specific pieces, the portal serves as a consistent connection between lessons. If you have a question during practice, simply log it in the portal, ensuring both you and your teacher remember to discuss it in the next lesson. Embrace this approach, as inquiry leads to genuine learning.
D. Reflecting on the Lesson
Spend some time reflecting on what you've learned, what resonated with you, and what you found challenging. This reflection not only aids in absorbing the lesson but also helps your teacher understand your needs and preferences. It's a shared journey, and your insights help craft your unique learning experience.
Conclusion: Your Path Begins Here
The path to becoming a pianist is filled with discovery, creativity, and personal growth. From choosing the right instrument that fits your style and comfort to understanding the intricacies of melodies, harmonies, and techniques, every step is vital to laying a robust foundation. Embracing the learning process with patience, openness, and a readiness to explore is key to a successful and fulfilling musical exploration. At Descant Music, lessons are customized to your individual needs, rhythm, and dreams, supported by empathetic instructors dedicated to guiding you through every phase. So whether you're an absolute beginner or an experienced musician venturing into the piano, your path to mastery is a well-crafted symphony of practice, inquiry, reflection, and joy. The melody of your piano playing is just beginning, and the keys of your progress are waiting to be played.