What to teach on the first lesson.

Discussion in 'Ask Michael Dimin' started by pauljacksonfan, Jun 14, 2005.

  1. pauljacksonfan


    Jun 14, 2005
    Hi Mike.
    I've been actively teaching intermediate students for about 6 months now. I feel very secure talking to them and sharing my knowledge of the instrument.
    However, I have now achieved yet another student. What sets him apart from the others is that he has never played bass before ever. He got his instrument this week and is just dying to learn how to play.

    Since all of my other students had some background knowledge/experience before taking lessons for me I'm not really sure how to deal with the situation. I realize of course that my word will be the truth to him. Not just an opinion. While the power this gives me is intriguing it's still a bit nervous.

    Would you have any general tips for this? How would you deal with the situation? And do you have anything rock solid that you think I must teach on our first lesson?

    Thanks a lot.
  2. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin

    Dec 11, 1999
    Clinician: EA, Zon, Boomerang, TI. Author "The Art of Solo Bass"
    This is a great question .. and there is no easy answer. First you have to look at the student, their maturity and their goals. Let me give you an example. An adult who only desires to play Sundays in church needs a very different set of skills then a 15 year old who only want to rock out with his friends. They also have a very dfferent level of maturity and expectations of the lesson(s).

    If it is a kid, you really have the long term responsibilty to teach them every aspect of playing, from sight reading and theory, improvising bass lines, etc. But this same kid, only wants to rock out. You have to balance "success based" lessons with long term goals. I like to teach theory and practice using familiar songs as my base. Not in "this is how you play this tune" but by looking at the tune, do a simple analysis and then playing their own bass line over it. You can start to add in the theory, pracitce scales, etc as you develop the tune.

  3. pauljacksonfan


    Jun 14, 2005
    Thanks for your time and for your sincere answer. I didn't expect an easy answer but it felt really good to get such a well thought out one as I did.

    Of course you're right that balance is the key. This kid also seems to want to start studying at a music school this autumn, so giving him a ground of theory to stand on only seems ideal.

    Thanks for the tips and wish me luck on my lesson on saturday. I'm gonna play it by ear.