How Do I Choose the Right Teacher?

Music teachers are unique individuals. Just as all dentists, doctors and other professionals are not the same; each music teacher offers a special professional perspective. The teacher closest to where you live, or the one who charges the least, is not necessarily the best choice. You want a teacher who will inspire you or your child and nurture you as you grow musically-someone whose techniques are appropriate for your personality and learning style. Ask for teacher recommendations from friends, family, music stores, churches and schools. This web site contains a membership list with a list of teachers accepting new students. All of our members would be delighted to help you in whatever way possible. After you have selected a prospective teacher or teachers in your particular area of music, arrange to interview these teachers prior to making a commitment. Ask to sit in on a lesson. If the teacher thinks attending a lesson would be too intrusive for the student, ask if the teacher's students will be presenting a recital and attend it.

If your child is the one interested in music, it is especially important to find a good teacher. Your child will develop a special one-on-one relationship with their music teacher, who will help instill a lifelong love of music in your child. Another key factor in making music lessons successful is your involvement. Parental support in the learning process is vital. Whether or not you know anything about music, make time to listen to your child play, provide a quality instrument and practice space, encourage them to practice, and celebrate their continued accomplishments.

Interview Prospective Teachers

Teachers should have definite objectives and teaching techniques, and should be able and willing to explain them to you. Here are some questions to ask during the interview:

  • How much teaching experience do you have? What level do you teach? (Young, old, beginners, advanced and so forth.)
  • What is your professional and educational experience in music? (Educational background in music will vary.)
  • What do you do in the way of ongoing professional development? (Such as subscribing to music education magazines, participation in professional associations and continuing education.)
  • What certifications and degrees do you hold?
  • What are your studio policies regarding fees, cancellations and make-up lessons, for example? (Ask to see a copy.)
  • Do you periodically conduct parent conferences to evaluate student progress?
  • What instructional materials and methods do you use? Do you tailor material to students' particular needs?
  • Do you teach any music other than classical music? What if my child wants to play pop, or I'm interested in learning to play jazz?
  • Do you offer group lessons? Master classes?
  • Do you teach students how to improvise? Memorize? Play by ear? Compose? Do you work on sight-reading in the lesson?
  • Do you teach music theory? Music history? Technique? How?
  • Do you use technology in your studio, such as computers, music instruction software, electronic keyboards?
  • How much practice time do you require each day? Do you spend time during the lesson helping students learn good practice habits?
  • Do you provide a venue for students to perform together? What?
  • Do you provide performance opportunities for your students, such as festivals, competitions, play-a-thons and so forth? Do you require students, to perform a certain number of times per year?
  • Do you think learning music should be enjoyable? How do you make lessons enjoyable but still productive?

Music Is Beneficial for All Learners

All of us, both children and adults, need to create, express ourselves, and feel satisfaction in accomplishment. Music lessons provide all this and more. Learning to play a musical instrument develops concentration, coordination, critical thinking and communication skills and boosts self-esteem. Best of all, it is enjoyable!