Meri’s Musical Musings

Preparing for a first lesson with a new teacher

Posted on: March 1, 2012

Many experienced musicians, for some reason or another, end up in a situation where their music lessons stop. However, some of these musicians, years or decades later, decide to take lessons on one or more instruments again because of circumstances in their lives are allowing them to do that again. My husband recently acquired a new adult student who had earned her Level 8 piano from the Royal Conservatory of Music 40 years ago, who had done extensive preparation for her first lesson with him since she stopped lessons as a teenager, and I am in the process of preparing to take clarinet lessons again for the first time in nearly a decade due to being in a very stable position to do so for several years. I am writing this to give some ideas on how to prepare for taking lessons with a new teacher.

First, schedule your first lesson with your new teacher 1-2 weeks after contacting them and making an appointment. This gives you time to practice some material.

Second, learn, or in most cases really, re-learn your scales to at least 4 sharps and flats. Orchestral instrument players should also at least re-learn their arpeggios and dominant and diminished 7th arpeggios to at least 3 sharps and flats, and preferably 4. Keyboard players should re-learn their triads, 4-note chords, dominant 7th and diminished 7th chords to at least 3 sharps, and preferably 4.

Third, prepare some etudes, Keyboard players should prepare at least 1, and preferably at least 2. Orchestral instrument students should prepare at least 2 etudes, though 3 is desirable.

Fourth, prepare some repertoire. At least 1 piece for orchestral instruments, and preferably 2; keyboard students should have 2-3 pieces with significant work.

Fifth, brush up on your music theory. Especially if it’s been more than a decade since you took your last rudiments exam.

Finally, sight read LOTS of pieces at least 2 levels below the level you left off at, and if that is too difficult, try 3-4 levels lower. You can find new material to read through at a large music store or university music library, some public library systems have extensive sheet music libraries to sign out as well.


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  • None
  • V V: Wish I had read this before I fell for their scheme ! Oh well - have posted my experience on Yelp and N49 and hoping others can avoid the pain of fal
  • clariniano: Thanks for the additional information. It was actually Yelp that deleted my reviews, because of so-called bias. I too have seen the horrible technique
  • No Thanks: Former Teacher at the Ontario Conservatory of Music I took lessons at the Ontario Conservatory and when I left for private lessons from another tea
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