When a parent registers his or her child for music lessons, the family enters into a long-term relationship with a music teacher. This relationship can last for several years. To ensure that it is a productive one, parents should consider certain factors when choosing a good music teacher for the family.
Finding a Music Teacher
The easiest way to find a music teacher is through referrals. By asking family friends, colleagues and neighbors for recommendations, parents learn detailed information about a music teacher’s qualifications, studio operations and teaching philosophies.
Many professional associations have online teachers’ directories. In North America, parents can visit the Canadian Federation of Music Teachers’ Associations, Music Teachers National Association and the National Association of Teachers of Singing. In Europe, parents can visit the European Chamber Music Teachers’ Association and the European Music Educators Association. In Australia, parents can visit the Australian Music Teachers Register.
Checking advertisements in the neighborhood is another method to find a music teacher. Some music teachers place ads in a community newsletter or newspaper, while others put up posters in local stores and coffee shops. Alternatively, parents can conduct a search online for “[Instrument] + lessons + [area]” to find websites of music teachers in their area.
Choosing a Good Music Teacher
There are several types of music educators. Each offers a unique combination of experience, knowledge and teaching philosophies.
Education and experience are two critical factors when considering a music teacher. Parents can choose from certified teachers, student teachers and performing musicians. Some educators are a combination of two different types.
Certified music teachers studied music at the post-secondary level and received some pedagogical training. Several belong to professional teaching associations.
In contrast, student teachers are senior-level students possibly working on attaining their accreditation. Performing musicians can share “street smarts” with music students. Studying with a performing musician means rescheduling lessons when the teacher has a gig.
Expertise can help parent choose a music teacher. Some specialize in classical music, while others focus on contemporary styles. Some teachers solely prepare music students for examinations, auditions and competitions, while others focus on recreational-play students. There are teachers who only teach beginners and those who only teach advanced students. Parents of young beginners may want to start with a music teacher who focuses on beginners, early childhood music programs or a generalist.
Find the Perfect Music Teacher: Music Philosophy and Chemistry
Music education includes several different teaching philosophies. Two of the primary ones are results-based and process-based teaching. For example, a teacher whose marketing materials stress the number of award-winning students taught by the teacher most likely subscribes to a results-based teaching philosophy. In contrast, if a teacher focuses more on the journey and exploration of music, he or she is mostly a process-based teacher.
Chemistry plays a huge role in choosing a good music teacher. There are three ways that parents can assess this. First, parents can learn a lot about a teacher’s studio set-up, teaching philosophy and approaches from how a teacher presents himself or herself. Many teachers have websites. An increasing number of teachers have YouTube channels.
Parents can schedule an audition/interview with a music teacher. The teacher typically explains his or her studio policies and teaching philosophies. He or she can show some of the teaching materials used in lessons and answer any questions or concerns.
During the audition/interview, the music teacher may also plan some activities to assess the student’s level or aptitude for music. He or she will also ask several questions to assess the family’s commitment and attitude towards music lessons, special needs, the student’s readiness for lessons and whether the family is a good fit for the studio. The music teacher may suggest another instrument or one whom they feel is better suited to helping the prospective student.
Parents can book trial lessons with a music teacher to determine fit. Some teachers offer trial lessons in packages of four to six lessons.
Music Lessons: Long Term Investment, Worth Your Time
Music lessons are a long-term investment. Researching and interviewing a short-list can help parents choose a good music teacher; one whose approach and vision, expertise and chemistry complements the family.
Alberta Registered Music Teachers’ Association. Parent Handbook. (2013). Accessed November 17, 2013.
Australian Music Teachers Register. Find a Music Teacher Here. (2013). Accessed November 17, 2013.
Canadian Federation of Music Teachers’ Associations. Providing Leadership in Music Education Across Canada. (2013). Accessed November 17, 2013.
European Piano Teachers Association. Find a Teacher. (2013). Accessed November 17, 2013.
Music Teachers National Association. Choosing a Music Teacher. (2013). Accessed November 17, 2013.
National Association of Teachers of Singing. About Us. (2013). Accessed November 17, 2013.© Copyright 2013 Rhona-Mae Arca, All rights Reserved. Written For: Decoded Parenting