There are several ways you can go about locating potential music teachers.
- Word of Mouth: Often students connect with teachers after hearing about a friend’s experience. This can be a very good method, especially if you and the friend have similar interests and goals.
- Schools and Music Organizations: School music teachers and local performing arts organizations often maintain lists of local music teachers. Nearby colleges or universities may have faculty or students who are available to teach students in the community.
- Credentialing Organizations: Organizations that grant credentials to teachers of their method (for example, The Suzuki Method) may maintain lists of teachers who have completed their training.
- Retail Music Stores and Schools: Stores that sell musical instruments and equipment often also have teaching space or can provide referrals to local teachers.
- On-line Sources: An on-line search of music teachers for your area will likely turn up some resources as well, including both individual teachers and referral networks.
Interviewing Potential Music Teachers: What To Ask
Here are some questions to ask teachers you are considering:
- What types of students do you work with best?
- What are your expectations of your students?
- What are your expectations of your students’ parents?
- How do you communicate with parents?
- Tell me about your methodology.
- What is your musical and teaching background?
- What is your availability?
- What are your fees?
One of the big factors in successful music teacher/student relationships is simply rapport. Does the student like the teacher? Do they “get” each other? Is there the right type of structure and/or flexibility for the student? Is the teacher responsive to the student’s needs? Does he or she give the student the right amount and type of direction and support? How does the student feel after the lesson – relieved or inspired?
If at all possible, talk with current or former students about their experience. Listen to how they play and how they talk about their learning experience.
Another way to get a feel for whether or not a teacher is a good fit is by attending a performance of their students or observing a class or lesson.
Some teachers will ask you to come for an interview or audition appointment. This is an opportunity for both the teacher and student to see if they’re a good fit. It’s customary in this case to pay for the appointment.