Music lessons are a rite of passage for many children, whether the lessons are in voice, piano or another instrument. Your child's success with music lessons can depend in large part upon his music teacher. What are some features to look for when selecting a music teacher?
1. What Is Her Philosophy?
Interview the teacher, if only briefly on the phone. What type of approach does she use? Is she strict about music theory and history, or is she more casual and "let's just have fun" in her demeanor? Does the teacher emphasize classical music, popular tunes or a mix?
Either type of teacher can be a good fit; it really depends on your child's personality and goals. The music teacher you may choose for a budding child piano prodigy may be different from the teacher you choose for a child who just wants to have some fun with a drum set.
2. What Do Other Parents Say?
If possible, talk to some other parents whose children study with the teacher you're considering. Are their children enjoying lessons with this teacher? Does he have a good personality for relating to children (being an excellent musician doesn't necessarily equate to being a great teacher)? Is she easy to work with if lessons need to be rescheduled?
3. What Is Required?
When you talk with the teacher, ask about expectations. How much practice time does she recommend daily? Are there competitions and recitals, and if so, is participation mandatory?
4. What's This All Cost?
Music lessons can be expensive, as they're generally one-on-one. Make sure you can afford the cost of lessons in your budget, as well as expenses for music your child will need. If private lessons seem too pricey, check into group lessons. These are often available at local colleges and some music studios, and the cost is usually much lesson than individual lessons. For most children, group lessons can be a cheaper way of determining whether your child has a lasting interest in the type of instrument she's studying.
5. Where Are the Lessons Located?
It may seem like a small thing, but do consider where the teacher lives or works. If you will be driving there weekly, it will soon begin to feel cumbersome if this requires a 30-minute drive one way. It will be less stressful to you and your family to choose a teacher who is close in location.
6. Can You Listen In?
Ask the teacher whether you can listen in on a lesson. If that's not possible, ask whether you can sit in during one of your child's lessons. This can give you a lot of insight into a teacher's methods, style and personality. There may be things the teacher is trying to emphasize which you had no idea of, simply because your child didn't mention them. It can be really enlightening to see a teacher at work. It can also help you gauge whether or not this teacher-student relationship is working well.
Music is a wonderful part of life. By taking time to select a music teacher who will be compatible with your child, you are ensuring that your child will have a great experience with music lessons.