Following is a mental checklist of tasks I automatically complete during a typical lesson. Think of it as my “play-by-play” manual for music instruction. Although the order is not always the same, it usually goes something like this...
Do a quick “check-in” with the student at the start of the lesson to find out how he/she is doing and if anything new/interesting is happening in his/her life (being careful not to spend too much time in conversation), as establishing interpersonal comfort and trust is important for music instruction.
Ask the student to explain what/how they practiced during the past week and find out if they had any problems or questions.
Listen and watch attentively while the student plays, considering all technical, theoretical/analytical and artistic aspects of his/her performance.
Praise the student for any progress made, especially recognizing successful practice (as a teacher, my motto is “look for progress, not results”).
Point out things that need correction and provide specific instruction about how to effectively practice to fix errors, prevent those errors from recurring, and prevent related errors.
Present new musical concepts and explain their application in the specific songs/pieces the student is learning.
Teach how to practice with newly presented concepts in mind.
When appropriate, provide any supplemental information about the music that might help the student's appreciation and/or enjoyment of it.
Motivate the student through the music he/she is learning, particularly by modeling good results and relating my own personal experience with it and excitement about it.
Incorporate extra creative activities into the lesson whenever possible (beyond those assigned), according to the interests of the particular student.
Create an assignment for the student (optional for adult students) based on his/her own particular practice habits and weekly progress levels.
Encourage daily practice and routinely explain its multifaceted benefits.
Do a quick review at the end of lessons and ask if there are any final questions/concerns.
*Outside of lessons: maintain an open dialogue with parents about the musical progress of their children; answer all questions related to lessons and take care of scheduling.