Use the Internet
Many local music schools and private teachers have websites that promote their services. Use the Internet to find nearby instructors and research their rates and schedules. Check out performance videos, look for testimonials, and see what experience the teacher may have.
Go to College
Contact the music department at local college or universities. While the department chair may not give lessons, they may be able to refer you to graduate students or other musicians in the department who will.
Find a School
Many communities have music schools that offer lessons in various instruments. They may teach music theory as well as individual lessons, and some may have performance options such as ensembles, bands, and orchestras.
Attend a Performance
One of the best ways to evaluate a teacher’s abilities is to see how their current students perform. Spend an evening at a recital, paying particular attention to the students at your child’s level. Are there students at different levels? Do they have a good repertoire with the teacher? Do the parents appear happy with the evening’s performance? If possible, speak to a few of the attending parents to get their perspective on the teacher.
Once you’ve narrowed your list of potential candidates to a select few, set up interviews with each of them. Prepare any questions ahead of time to ensure that you find out the most pertinent information. Take your child with you to the interview so he can meet the teacher and ask any questions he may have. (In all reality, the teacher should be interviewing you and your child, too, ensuring a good fit for all parties involved.)
Possible questions may include:
Add any questions you and your child may have. Don’t be afraid to inform them that you are interviewing other teachers and will let them know when you have made a decision.
After you’ve made your decision and the first few lessons have passed, make sure to evaluate if the teacher is a good fit for your child. A good teacher will inspire students to achieve more and will nurture a child’s natural desire to excel. Your child should feel comfortable with what is being required at each lesson and should clearly understand both the lesson and what is expected. There is a difference between struggling with a skill because it is new and struggling with a skill because you don’t understand how to master it. A good teacher gives students the skills necessary to accomplish their lessons and encourages them to work through the struggle.
Music is an important part of life, and can benefit children for years, long after they’ve stopped taking lessons. Finding the right teacher can have a lasting effect on your child’s development, musically and otherwise.