Experienced student taking lessons on a new instrument
I recently received a new guitar student to start with summer lessons who has previously taken lessons for piano, clarinet, and voice. Playing the guitar is something that she has always wanted to learn since she was given a guitar for a Christmas present two years ago. Being such an active musician already, learning a new instrument is going to be an exciting and fun experience for her and for me as well. This student has always wanted to be able to play her favorite songs that she listens to on Pandora and her Itunes. I am so excited to help her make her dream come true. Being an experienced student from taking in home music lessons previously will help her to learn her new instrument quickly.
Same Music, New Instrument
Learning how to read, play, and understand music is the first step to becoming a musician. It doesn’t matter what instrument a student learns as their first instrument because what they learn with one instrument can be easily transferred to another instrument. Once a student has learned how to read sheet music they can read just about any music that is put in front of them. Notation, rhythm, and articulation are universal from one instrument to another. The hardest part for a student to learn on a new instrument is where are the notes located. Once a student understands how their new instrument is played they can take their past musical knowledge and apply it to their new instrument.
First lessons on a new instrument
My new guitar student had her first in home guitar lessons with me this week and was very excited to get playing. As a teacher I am always excited to have a student that is ready to learn and has a goal in mind with learning their new instrument. The first lesson is always to teach the student about their new instrument. We went over the different parts of the guitar and what the names of these parts are. This student had previously taken piano lessons for over 4 years and with that knowledge of piano I was able to describe the parts of the guitar that would be similar to the piano. This really helped the new guitar student to understand how her guitar worked. For example, when we were discussing the neck of the guitar and the frets I was able to explain to her that every fret was a half step. Playing from fret 3-4-5 was just like playing G-G#-A on the piano. This made so much sense to her and I could see her make the immediate connection from one instrument to another from these initial in home guitar lessons.
Don’t forget the basics
Even with an experienced music student starting a new instrument it’s important for the guitar teacher to make sure that the student understands the basics of their new instrument. I never want to assume that my student knows exactly what I am talking about before heading on to a new topic. The basics may seem simple and easy for the student but it is very important that the student fully understands the basics of their new instrument before diving into more advanced topics. While first showing my new guitar student chords on the guitar I had to make sure that she understood the order of the strings and frets.
This basic knowledge helps the student to understand the language of her new instrument. When I was describing how to play an A chord my student could easily watch my hand placement on the guitar and play an A chord back for me. Before moving on to the next chord I had to make sure that she knew the A chord was played on the second fret of the 4th,3rd, and 2nd strings. Seems simple enough, but she though we were playing on the 3rd,4th,and 5th strings. Making the correction of the order of strings for her was a big change. She had tried to learn chords on her own before and turns out that she had the order of strings backwards. Simple corrections can make a world of difference.
A beginner could actually be an intermediate student
Even though my new student only had one lesson with me this week I really wouldn’t want to call her a beginner student. Of course she is just beginning lessons on a new instrument but with her past musical experience she will quickly progress from a beginner guitar student to an intermediate guitar student with a couple of lesson and some good practicing. Our first couple of lessons together will be very informative for her on how to read guitar music and how to shape the chords. My new student was able to understand the basic music that we were discussing and now its just a matter of practice to get used to playing her new instrument. I have all the confidence for my new student to excel in the next couple of lessons to being able to jam along to her favorite songs.
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