The first meeting with an applied lessons student is always exciting. This is the first opportunity to interact with a person that I will get to know well over the course of the next several years and for whom I will hopefully be a motivating and positive influence. Who is this person and what is his or her background? What knowledge and skills do they already possess? Where are they on the paths of artistic development and personal achievement? Does this person seem open or is there a sense of hesitancy?
Of course, the first meeting does not reveal all answers. A student may be shy and reserved at first, but eventually develop the ability to be more expressive and convivial. Or a student may be seemingly extroverted but reveal a more restrained and introspective side later on. In those first encounters, however, it is important to understand where the student is on the long path and to meet that student there, wherever he or she happens to be.
Students may arrive with underdeveloped skills, limited knowledge of music notation, inefficient or incorrect technical habits, an aversion to regular practice, etc. As an instructor at an open enrollment institution, I strive to assist all of my applied students in improving their skills and progressing toward their musical goals, both professional and personal. From those first few lessons I seek to foresee the long-term development of this student over the course of 4 years of study with me. I have to be realistic with the student and with myself in determining what the students’ strengths and weaknesses are and how to address them.
Students arrive at CSC having already started along the long path. I simply join them.