A student comes brand new at my door. Usually they’re a bit nervous, so, I try to put them at ease with jokes. All of them terrific, I can assure you. The student does or does not relax, but, at least, she’s able able to work. I always start easy. I know how the game works, right? They’re checking if I can teach, but I’m also having my own agenda, mainly this one: finding out how this particular person functions. I try to pick up clues on the way they sit, how they move, how they respond, the tone of their voice as well as the way they behave behind the instrument. This is good stuff for me, I need that to tailor my own behavior and language so that I can reach them. Remember, my job is communicating.
I propose an exercise, it has to be after very little explanation, as I feel they’re not ready to stand even a short lecture about the merit of this approach or that concept. Later on, once we get used to each other, once they’ve known me for awhile, taken a few lessons, trusted me with my way of doing things, and once they start asking questions, that’s when I can have a longer discussion, provide a deeper understanding of the whys and hows of the craft.
I don’t give a lot of assignments during the first lesson. But I do warn them: I am famous to give a lot of work, be vocal about when you’ve got enough!
The reason I pour the homework are many. It is, among other things, because I don’t want to be paid for nothing. I provide a service, I will do my best to deliver as much as possible. Another reason is that the student has decided to get herself to my studio on a regular basis, that this commitment is not easy given all the difficulties and problems life throws at you on a daily basis and that she deserves to go back home with something to do on her instrument, something that’ll keep her mind away from said difficulties and problems. But why I give a lot of homework is that usually, as the lessons progress, I can see that their motivation increases, that they want to discover more and more about the drums or the piano, that their thirst is growing. Oh boy! It is such a pleasure, an honor really, to witness the beginning of a passion, and so, as their love for music matches my own, we become companions on the road to marvels.