My first lesson with new students is an informal meeting with both the parent and student to get to know each other and go over my teaching style. If the student has played violin before, I ask that they have a scale, etude, and polished piece ready to play. This is not so much an “audition” for them as it is a chance for me to get an accurate picture of them as a student.

For students under the age of 10 who are completely new to the instrument, I set up two meetings without a violin at all. The first meeting consists of a few games and questions for the child to asses their language skills and ability to focus. The second meeting is with the parent alone to discuss their expectations, roles, and responsibilities. These responsibilities include:

  • Serving as a home practice partner
  • Being responsible for finding a regular time every day to listen to recordings and practice
  • Attending lessons every week
  • Taking notes in lessons or videotaping if possible

Some questions you may want to ask yourself or discuss as a family before our first meeting include:

  • What do you expect of your child in playing the violin? Do you want to see your child working hard? Do you want to see your child playing games?
  • How much of a time commitment are you willing to make? What sounds like a reasonable amount of time to practice? Can you already think of a regular time(s) to practice?
  • What type of things motivate your child?
  • What type of learner do you think your child is? Are there any strengths or challenges that you think your teacher should know about?