Of course the very first piano lesson is important… first impressions, first learning opportunities, first piano piece.. it’s a crucial initial experience that we piano teachers carefully craft.
But what about the second piano lesson? Is it just ho-hum, same-old from then on?
Be a Second Piano Lesson Superstar
In actuality, the second piano lesson is where much of your efforts should be spent. After the excitement of that first lesson, your piano student is arriving full of anticipation and you’ve got to be on your game to continue that momentum. Everyone expects the first lesson to be full of fun, but you really “wow” them by making the second just as great as the first!
Here’s some easy-to-implement ideas that will have your piano students bouncing out of their second lesson with glee…
1) Review Learned Concepts in the Form of Games – your new piano students want to know that piano lessons are actually everything they were hyped up to be! They’ll be stoked for something new… but review is so important at this stage to be sure those vital first skills are solidified before moving on. But for kids, review = boring!
Avoid just spending time reviewing directly from their method book and instead solidify those concepts of finger numbers, high vs. low on the keyboard, black key groups etc. in the form of games. These don’t need to be involved “spend-hours-cutting-and-pasting” games, but impromptu and fun activities off the bench or on a white board. Anything you can do to make these same concepts seem different will work to your advantage.
2) Set up Practice Expectations – the second lesson is the ideal time to set up practice expectations. It’s likely that your new piano student has worn the ivory off their piano keys with their newbie enthusiasm for their very first pieces… but here’s where regular practice expectations can be established. My second lesson piano kids are sent home with 5 activities from “Shhh…Your Piano Teacher Thinks This is Practice” (want some freebie activities? Click here!) to show them that regular practice is expected, but doesn’t need to be tedious!
This second lesson is a crucial time for setting up practice routines to get them off to a great start. Involve Mom and Dad in the process and let them in on the “quality vs. quantity” information when it comes to home practice.
3) Make Them a Movie Star! Be sure to put that smart phone to good use, and videotape your student performing their newly-learned first pieces. Not only does this provide some great bragging rights for the “new-to-piano” parents, but it also gives you a “look how far you’ve come!” assessment for the end of the year. You’ll make your new student feel special if you share this “Check out my Second Lesson!” video on your studio blog or Facebook page.
4) Start Building Your Relationship – the second piano lessons is also your second chance at building a strong student-teacher relationship. Make a point of remembering things they told you during their first lesson and refer to them again at the second. They’ll be thrilled. Use humour, laughter and enthusiasm (make those cheeks hurt!) to put them at ease. Give them a glimpse into who YOU are as a person. Creating an early bond is so very important as it leads to willingness to take risks, to speak up and ask questions and to enjoy sharing the awesomeness that is music with a “friend”.
Of course there’s the “business” side to that second lesson; they need new pieces to play and they have new concepts to learn, and of course we need to still have the “regular” part of piano lessons too. But with these 4 important tips in mind, your second lesson will solidify all of the good stuff you packed into the first… and you’ll be off to a stellar start with your newest client.