Dear Parents,
Let’s focus this first lesson at the beginning of the year on how we begin the lesson! When we begin with calm focus and intention, the students can settle into a deep concentration and have an optimal lesson.

1. Please organize books and papers ahead so that you can quickly put the books on the piano and the assignment sheet on my piano. Some students may also need to remember to bring shoes for using the pedal.

2. Please arrive 5 – 10 minutes early. Enter the studio with your child rather than having them come in ahead or behind you. This way you can make sure the door closes quietly and that they are becoming quiet and calm.

Please have them use the restroom and wash their hands as part of the routine. You can gauge the time you need to come ahead by how long this takes. (Two children takes longer, etc.)

3. Please think through how to get set up quickly for the lesson so that it does not take more than 1 or 2 minutes.  Please memorize the bench and footstool settings for your child (or help older students memorize their own setting) and set up the bench and footstool directly after the previous student bows.

During this time I will look over the assignment and focus on your child’s needs, and then talk with your child about school or other interests before the bow. This is an important part of the beginning time for the child.

5. Please bring the assignment sheet filled out from the previous lesson.  Each assignment should have a main focus point (such as thumb up) and a goal (such as finish learning the new piece hands separate). The scales, reading and pieces can be listed with possibly one point on how to practice or what is most important to fix. (fingerings!) For older students we are working on getting the details such as which fingerings, spots, etc. written directly into the score and keeping the assignment as an outline.

If you use the exact words I used on the assignment sheet it will help your child connect the lesson with the assignment, and also provides me with a “key” to the lesson when I see the assignment sheet.  (for example “thumb up”  is a different focus from “move thumb sideways.” )  When the lesson assignments are clear, it is much easier for me to follow through on last week’s assignment. Even though there are lots of the same points in every lesson, each lesson is unique and suited to the specific needs of that developmental stage. Following through on the specific assignment will make a huge difference in progress. Getting the assignment written down exactly is the start.

You can make copies of the Assignment Sheet and bring to the lesson in a small notebook. It would be good to keep several months together in one book so we can refer back to them.

6. Please have a copy of the score to refer to in the lesson and take notes from your copy so that it does not take extra time to give you the assignment.

7. If you have concerns, please email ahead and let’s not discuss it directly in the lesson. It’s fine to let me know ahead if you have not been able to practice as much as usual. This is helpful. It is not necessary to make excuses about practice etc. at the beginning of the lesson as this starts things off negatively, and only reinforces the child’s ability to make excuses.

When the lessons start well, we can accomplish a lot in the time we have together.
Looking forward to a great year!
Leah Brammer