All music teachers are not created equal. 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 artistically - someone whose style and values are appropriate for your personality and
Ask for teacher recommendations from friends, neighbors, music stores and schools. Arrange to interview
prospective 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
If your child is the one interested in music, it is especially important to find a good teacher. If all goes well,
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 you know anything about music or
not, make time to listen to your child play, encourage them to practice, and praise their continued efforts.
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?
- Do you have a degree in music? Which degrees and from where? (Not that university-educated teachers
are the only ones you should consider) - but find out about a prospective teacher's educational background,
and then decide how important it is to you.
- Do you use technology in your studio, such as computers, music instruction software, electronic
- What are your studio policies regarding fees, cancellations and make-up lessons, for example?
- Do you periodically conduct parent conferences to evaluate student progress?
- What instructional materials and methods do you use?
- Do you think learning music should be fun? How do you make lessons fun but still productive?
- What if my child wants to play pop, or I'm interested in learning to play jazz?
- 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 performance opportunities for your students? Do you require students to perform a certain
number of times per year?
- 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? How?
- What do you do in the way of ongoing professional development? (Subscribe to music education
magazines, belong to professional associations, attend workshops.)
In order to reap all the rewards studying music provides, a student must be motivated to continue to work
toward a goal. A skilled music teacher can make the difference in continuing music lessons over a number
Ask for References
Ask prospective teachers for references, and evaluate each teacher's credentials.
Music is Beneficial for All Learners
Children - and adults - need to create, to express themselves, and to receive praise for something they've
accomplished. Music lessons provide all this and more. Learning to play a musical instrument develops
concentration, coordination, critical thinking and communication skills; but best of all, it boosts self-esteem.
Taking music lessons can be a joyful experience for students of any age or ability. Diligent music students
learn how rewarding it is to achieve a goal - practice really does make perfect!
|Finding the Right Piano Teacher
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