4 Simple Steps to Find the Right Music Teacher

With winter’s end finally in sight, many parents are turning their attention to fun activities outside the home. And if you and your child have decided to plunge into the wide world of music this coming spring, those post-hibernation activities might also include the search for a music teacher. If this is your fist time trying to find the right music teacher, the process can be a little challenging.

But don’t get discouraged!

Choosing the right teacher is a very personal decision. You’ll want someone with a lot of enthusiasm for both music and the art of teaching, someone who is dedicated to nurturing your child’s growing love for music, and someone who will inspire them and help them to get better. In order to help you find the best music teacher for your little ones (or even yourself!), this week we’re going to take a look at a few basic guidelines to help you get started!

Think About Your Child’s Needs

The most important step in finding the right music teacher is the first one. Ask yourself, “what am I looking for in a music instructor for my child?” It’s important to have a basic, rough idea of who your ideal teacher is. As you look into music programs in your area, you can start to define this abstract idea in your head into a more concrete person. To help yourself narrow down the list of potential teachers, ask yourself a few important questions:

  • How skilled is my child now? Are they a beginner, intermediate, or advanced musician?
  • What does my child want to accomplish through music lessons?
  • What specific qualifications are needed to help them achieve their goals?
  • How much time does my child want to spend playing their instrument?
  • Would my child want to join a group or ensemble, or would they be more comfortable in private lessons?
  • What is my budget for classes?

Gather Info

Don’t be afraid to do some research! Read testimonials online, look at reviews, and reach out to your own circle of friends and acquaintances. Talk to people who are willing to share their experiences and insights. Don’t be afraid to ask your family, friends, coworkers, neighbours, or your community at large about their and their children’s experiences with local music programs and teachers. What selection process did they go through? Are they happy with the program or teacher they ended up going with? Is there something they wish they had done in their selection process? Learn from their successes and mistakes, and try to get at least three solid recommendations.

Another fantastic resource is your local music store. The staff at these locations can usually give you knowledgeable suggestions and plenty of information on a number of local teachers and programs. And of course, there’s always the internet. Once you’ve identified a few possibilities, take a look at their websites. Look for student performance videos, see if there will be a recital in your area, watch how the teacher interacts with their students.

Interview Prospective Instructors

Doing your research is an important step, but it’s really one sided. Once you have your short-list of recommendations, set up appointments to go speak with them. This is a great chance to find out who they are, how (or even if) they can meet your and your child’s needs, how they communicate, the philosophies that guide their teaching methods, and most importantly, if you and your child can get along with them.

Make sure to ask a lot of questions. Pay attention to the flow of the conversation. Here’s a few important questions you should be sure to get answer for from any prospective music instructor:

  • What’s your experience as a musician and as a teacher?
  • What are your credentials and educational background?
  • What ages and skill levels do you teach?
  • Do you have a particular approach to teaching? (It’s a good idea to look for a teacher who will tailor their approach for each individual student’s skills, needs, and goals.)
  • Do you have recitals?
  • What teaching materials do you use, and why?
  • How do you measure student’s progress?
  • What do you expect of your students (and their parents, for that matter)?
  • Where and when do you hold your lessons?
  • How long is each session?
  • How do you make each lesson both fun and productive?
  • What are your fees and terms? (Be sure that you always ask about any extra costs, for example, if the lessons goes over the time limit.)

Listen to Your Gut

Once you’ve gone through all your interviews, it’s time to make a decision. You’ll want someone who is friendly, patient, and can inspire your child. You want someone who is willing, and able, to go the extra mile to make sure every lesson is fun, laid back, and productive. You’ll want someone who will be active in your child’s musical education and development, and is actually interested in helping them meet their goals. And don’t forget, you want someone that your child will relate to, and enjoy spending time with.

When making this choice, it’s important to trust your instincts. Go over all your information, let it sink in, then listen to your gut. Your instincts will take all the information you have gathered, and draw the appropriate conclusion based on your experiences speaking with each teacher. If you don’t feel like you’ve made a solid connection with any of your prospective instructors, keep looking. If you try out a teacher for your child, and it ends up not being a good fit, don’t be afraid to look for a change. Any professional music instructor will understand and support your decision. You need to do what you think is best for your child.

In the end, try to take your time. Remember, you’re trying to find the best music instructor for your child, not for anyone else. Speak to those you know who have gone through the experience, do your homework, speak with your short-list, and most of all, listen your gut. If you follow these simple guidelines, you’ll be sure to find your child the right teacher in no time at all!

Click here for a complete list of all of our professional instructors, sorted by instrument and instruction, and feel free to contact us to set up a meeting!