Little Tastes and Tester Pots

Will you marry me?

That would be a very strange question to ask someone if you had just met them a few times at some parties. It’s pretty unlikely they would say yes…even asking them to move-in or swap keys is unlikely to go over too well. You need to have at least one date first, right?

The first music lesson is the start of a long-term relationship and asking people to commit to a year or even a month of lessons right away is a recipe for disconnect and discontent on both sides. That’s why I strongly suggest you start every new student with a meeting before their first lesson.

Don’t Skip the First Date

It’s often tempting to skip this, especially for students who seem like a perfect fit, because we’re impatient to get started. But that’s all the more reason not to skip it. 

You want to give your best students the best possible start, and that includes everyone being on the same page about policies, philosophies and payments. 

If it means starting lessons a few weeks later because you have to wait until the parent gets back from a business trip, that’s ok. The fantastic relationship you have with them over the next several years will be worth it. 

A First Date Is Not an Audition

Trial lessons can work for some teachers, but they wouldn’t be my first choice.

Free first lessons or one-off paid lessons feel too much like a teacher audition. The first meeting with a new student should be as much about you seeing whether they’re a good fit for your studio as the other way around. 

You need to make sure that your superpower is the one they want and need for their musical mission. There’s no sense bringing the power of invisibility to a pitch-black space expedition.