7 Tips for New Music Instructors

Looking for some tips as a first time instructor?


  • Find a structure that works for you with your students Remember that not every student is going to be the same. You can have a general lesson plan that you use with all of your students, but make sure to really get to know each one individually and tailor their lessons to them!
  • Build a relationship with your students– Building a relationship with your student, helps you learn more about how your student learns, their musical goals, and gives you a solid foundation to help them when there is a more complex musical concept you are working. If you have a solid relationship, they will be more willing to tell you if they are confused or need help and they are more likely to practice between lessons.
  • Set clear expectations with grace – It’s not unusual for a new instructor or teacher to struggle with setting expectations, like practice goals, and discerning when to extend grace and when to be firm. You may feel like you’re being too strict or putting too much pressure, but when you’re clear, it assures your student is performing to their best ability. You do not have to be harsh, but but setting clear expectations with a dose of grace and kindness always works better. Know when to ask “why didn’t you practice?” and “How can you make sure your practice this week?” and when to say “I understand, I hope you are feeling better!”
  • Get a Mentor -The best piece of advice? Ask your friends and colleagues, especially the ones who have been teaching the longest. They’ve had the most time to perfect their teaching. Learn from those who have been there before you!
  • Always plan ahead – You should try to have a general plan for each lesson. It’s better to plan ahead and make changes as you go than to find yourself stuck not knowing what to do for a lesson some weeks. Make a plan and build upon it as you move through the year with each individual student.
  • Stay motivated, for yourself and for your student -You can’t expect to build upon your student’s skills and make them great if you don’t even believe in yourself! Stay positive and motivate yourself and your students. You’re both learning and growing, together. 
  • Remember, this is a learning environment, but it can still be very fun! Try to keep every lesson upbeat, entertaining, and fresh! You don’t want a bored student who ends up losing interest in their music lessons!! Take the time to make lesson plans that include fun educational activities.  

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