Beginner Piano Lessons | The Importance of Instructor Punctuality

This content was created for Curtis Music Academy

Hello! Welcome back to another episode of the Curtis Music Academy podcast. Today I wanted to talk about the importance of instructors arriving early for their scheduled beginner piano lessons, even if the student or students they are going to be teaching are consistently late in their arrival time. This can sometimes seem frustrating for instructors, especially if they have a lot of other commitments in their lives such as family obligations. People are busy with other jobs, school, the possibilities really are endless.

It might seem unimportant to make the effort to leave their other locations and activities to arrive at their scheduled beginner piano lessons at the studio if they are almost completely certain that the student will not be there until several minutes or more after their scheduled time. However, we here believe that it is important that instructors arrive promptly and even early to their scheduled classes, to ensure the best possible experience for their students. For starters, arriving early gives instructors a chance to decompress and gather their thoughts before they begin trying to focus all of their attention on their student for an extended period of time.

If the instructor’s thoughts are elsewhere during the lesson, the student is not getting the highest possible quality of instruction from their teacher. So, if instructors are rushing in and being frazzled during their teaching, the student really is not getting the highest possible quality of instruction, which is what they are spending both their financial resources and their personal time on. And in addition to the personal expectations we set for ourselves at Curtis Music Academy because we want to give our students the best possible experience, the students (or their parents) can tell when the instructor is distracted or not being attentive to their lessons, and that will reflect negatively on the professional reputation of Curtis Music Academy, and will have a negative on both student retention and the number of new student inquiries.

Secondly, arriving early for beginner piano lessons allows instructors the chance to catch up on new updates or changes about any aspect of their lessons. Any specific updates about the student themselves, their goals, or anything else that has arisen in the interim since their last lesson that has been relayed to Curtis Music Academy by the student or their parents, the instructor has a chance to learn and process, and make any necessary changes to their lesson plans. Or just general overall updates about Curtis Music Academy, it’s policies, or upcoming events, or any general housekeeping topics, the instructor has a chance to learn about before their lesson.

Having instructors who are consistently up to date with all aspects of their teaching will create a smoother, more personalized and enjoyable learning experience for the student, which is of course always the goal. Students trust their music academies with not only their funds, but also their time, both of which they could be spending elsewhere. So it is the responsibility of the academy to ensure that their investment of both resources does not go to waste, and would not be better spent elsewhere.

In a related vein, the instructors have a professional responsibility to their students to be present at the beginner piano lessons at or, preferably, before the scheduled time. The students are the ones spending their money to take the lessons, whereas the instructors are profiting from the event. Thus, the instructors should always be ready to teach at the agreed upon time out of respect for the time and finances the student is investing in them. Being late or unprepared for beginner piano lessons would demonstrate to the student that their investment is not respected or considered worthwhile by their instructor.  Ultimately, the responsibility should lie with the student to get as much return as possible for their investment, by arriving at their lesson on time.

The responsibility of the instructor, relatedly, is to be present and ready at the time of the lesson so if the student should choose to be punctual to maximize their success, they are not prevented from doing so by the neglect of their instructor. Additionally, a history of being tardy for beginner piano lessons does not ever guarantee that a student will not be on time for their next lesson. And if the student does show up on time, and the instructor has fallen into the rut of assuming that the student will be late, and as a result has begun to grow lax in their own readiness for lessons, that would just create a negative feedback loop for the student, who sees that their instructor is also not ready on time, so they continue to show up late, and then the instructor continues to not be prepared on time.

And demonstrating to a student by being late that their lesson is unimportant, especially if the student is young and/or a beginner to their instrument can have a discouraging effect on other areas of their musical journey. One impact this could have is lessening playing time, because the instructor has already shown the student that their learning is unimportant by their actions, so why would the student choose to prioritize practicing everyday over the other obligations and opportunities they have in other areas of their lives? It could also help discourage the student from even continuing to attend their beginner piano lessons or keeping up their scheduled lessons.

And in this scenario, by not prioritizing the experience of the student and not recognizing the importance of punctuality, the instructor has negatively impacted both their own music teaching career, but has also put a damper on the passion and excitement a student initially had to learn to play or to further master an instrument.

So, to wrap up, obviously instructor punctuality is a very important auxiliary aspect of a students lessons, outside of the instruction itself. It has the potential to influence how the student views their instructor, the instrument and the importance in which they hold their own musical experience and knowledge. Thank you all for joining me today for this Curtis Music Academy podcast.