It’s no secret that children are often asked to participate in extra-curricular activities. However, the only thing worse than having your child do something they don’t want to is finding out you hired the wrong person for their music teacher! If your child is lucky enough to play an instrument or sing, then it’s important they have a great music instructor who can help them learn not just how to play but also how to love playing. So what should you look for when screening potential teachers? This 10 minute guide will walk through some of the most important considerations.
What to Look for in a Music Teacher
There is no better way to know how well a music teacher knows their craft than by learning about their experience. What have they studied? Where have they studied? How many years have they been teaching? Did they teach in public schools or just private studios?
Who is best suited for your particular child? Does the music teacher use humor with their students or keep the atmosphere formal? Are they laid back or strict? You’ll need to interview potential instructors in order to learn about their personality and determine whether your child will be comfortable around them.
Getting music lessons is an important part of most kids’ lives, so you’ll want to find someone who has time for lessons after school and on the weekends. Ask applicants if they have other jobs in addition to being a music teacher, and consider how many students they’ll be able to handle at one time before hiring them.
Most teachers charge an hourly fee, but you should still negotiate the price to get the best deal. Look for any hidden fees that can really add up and be sure to ask about discounts for multiple siblings.
This one goes without saying! You want to find the best teacher possible, right? So you need someone who is qualified, experienced, and has a proven track record of success in helping students achieve their goals. Ask about their education background and how they have helped other students.
How to Screen Potential Teachers
When screening potential music teachers for your child, it’s important to consider a variety of factors. Here are the most important ones:
You would think this goes without saying, but too often this can be a question we forget to ask because we assume someone teaching a subject has formal training, and so we don’t ask. Check their credentials.
It’s not uncommon for someone whose sole “formal” education in music to be the music lessons they took when they were a child, plus perhaps playing in band or orchestra while in school or college. We highly encourage this type of music education for your student, but not for their teacher.
In my travels for my own performances, and for performances by my students, I have come across other students trained by other instructors who have no formal music training beyond what we just mentioned. Unfortunately it’s quick to discern these students compared to others, because they often have poor hand position (important for both piano and violin), and cannot play as well as you would hope despite studying for years.
The person who provides music lessons for your child ideally should have a university degree in music. Formalized instruction provides your child’s music teacher with knowledge in all aspects of music.
My own formal music education started in High School while I attended the National Academy of Music on a full scholarship in Champaign, IL, studying violin with pedagogue Paul Rolland for 2 years. I received my Bachelor of Music Degree from Eastman School of Music in Violin Performance, and Masters Degree in Violin Performance from the Manhattan School of Music in New York City.
Ask for the instructor’s own educational background.
Ask potential music teachers about their experience and what they studied. How many years have they been teaching? Did they teach in public schools or just private studios? This will give you a good idea of their qualifications.
It’s important that your child feels comfortable around their music teacher. Interview potential instructors and get a sense of their personality before making a decision.
Find out if the music teacher has time for lessons after school and on the weekends.
Most music teachers charge an hourly fee, and you should ask about tuition fees up front.
Keep in mind, instructors with formal music education backgrounds may charge a higher rate than other instructors who do not have this background. I personally would encourage all parents for their child to experience ANY music instruction, yet also keep in mind that the quality of the instruction they receive, and in turn what they learn, will also vary.
Before you start looking for music lessons in your area, make sure you know exactly what it is that you want. What instruments or forms of music are you interested in? Is there a particular level of competence that you’re trying to achieve? Knowing what you want before starting the search will ensure that it’s easy to find a teacher who can help you get there.
The curriculum is relatively straightforward with children. The teacher will want to know what instrument the child is interested in before getting lessons started. They’ll also want to know what level of competence the child is aiming for. With younger children, the teacher will also want to know how much time they can dedicate to lessons each week.
Tips for Interviewing and Selecting the Right Teacher
When interviewing potential music teachers for your child, be sure to ask the following questions:
- What is the cost of a music lesson?
- Do teachers offer discounts for siblings?
- Is there a contract you have to sign?
- How many students can the music teacher handle at once?
- Are you willing to work with me if I have special instructions?
- What is your background and education?
Once you’ve screened potential teachers and found the right one for your child, be sure to ask them these questions:
- What is the curriculum?
- What instruments or forms of music are you interested in?
- What level of competence are you trying to achieve for students?
Music class can be both fun and educational , so interview any potential music teachers carefully to find the right fit for your child.
You’ll want to find someone who has experience, a personality your child will enjoy working with, availability, fees you can afford, and an engaging curriculum. Keep these tips in mind as you conduct interviews and you’ll find the perfect music teacher for your child.
Music class can be both fun and educational, so interview any potential music teachers carefully to find the right fit for your child. You’ll want to find someone who has experience, a personality your child will enjoy working with, availability, fees you can afford, and an engaging curriculum. Keep these tips in mind as you conduct interviews and you’ll find the perfect music teacher for your child.