Photo used under Creative Commons from Marina K Caprara
The decision to take music lessons is an important step for you and your family members. You will have to determine what instrument you would like to play, the main reasons why you want to play, and how you intend to use your newly acquired skills. Once you’ve determined your reasons and your instrument of choice, it is necessary to find a qualified instructor. Here, we’ll discuss some of the best methods for finding the perfect music instructor.
When looking for a good music instructor, it’s essential to list your overall requirements before starting the selection process. The requirements could include a convenient location, verifiable experience in the field of music instruction, and scheduling flexibility. It’s always a good idea to interview a few instructors before making a selection. This is especially important if you are looking for an instructor for your child, as different teaching styles may not necessarily fit with his or her needs or personality.
1. Ask the Right Questions
During the interview process, you may want to ask questions about the instructor’s experience, how many instruments they play, their educational background, and their musical accomplishments. You may also find it beneficial to research popular music certifications beforehand and inquire as to whether the instructor has any of these. In addition, you may want to ask for references or testimonials from current or former students.
Once you get through these questions, then practical questions should follow. These questions will primarily be about logistics, such as scheduling and pricing. Some of this information may be available online. If not, you should be clear on payment and scheduling ahead of time. In addition, you should ask if lessons will be taught on an individual basis or in a group setting, decide which one is within your comfort zone, and ask about their teaching style. You should also ask the instructors about their expectations, both for the students and their parents.
2. Word of Mouth
An old adage states that word of mouth is the best form of advertising, and this is especially true when it comes to taking lessons of any kind. Using referrals to find a music instructor can take much of the hassle and frustration out of finding the perfect teacher. Referrals may come from family members, colleagues, and even from music faculty at local schools and universities. If your child attends school with someone who is taking music lessons, you may find it helpful to contact that child’s parents for input. Keep in mind that each student has different needs, so what works for one may not work for another.
Even if you don’t have any personal recommendations for qualified music instructors, you can use an online directory to connect with them. Conducting an Internet search will yield results for several organizations that specialize in matching students with teachers. Many of these services allow you to customize your search by entering criteria such as the number of years they have been in business, their music specialties, and specific music certifications.
There are several online referral sites, and takelessons.com is one of the most comprehensive. Takelessons.com allows users to search for instructors by zip code, compare qualified music teachers side by side, and gather comprehensive information. In addition, once you select an instructor, you can book lessons directly on the website and pay for them upfront in order to guarantee your time slot. Instructors can be contacted through the website, offering you the opportunity to ask questions or give feedback about the music lessons. If you have to reschedule a lesson for any reason, you can also do so directly on the website.
3. Weigh Your Options
Once you have narrowed your selections down to a few qualified music instructors, it’s time to weigh your options to ensure that you make the best possible decision. Teachers can be found in a variety of ways including community music schools, colleges and universities, and online organizations.
Community music schools often offer more than just connections to qualified music instructors. These schools usually have a variety of music appreciation and music theory courses, as well. Additionally, community music schools will sometimes host performances, giving students an opportunity to show off their skills and network with others in the performing arts. These schools can even connect you with more affordable or independent instructors who teach in a highly specialized niche.
Local higher education institutions are also a wonderful resource for finding talented instructors. You can start by doing an Internet search of universities in your area and look for instructors who specialize in teaching instruments you are interested in. Many times, faculty members regularly teach private music lessons on the side. Even if they don’t, they can usually refer you to someone whom they personally recommend.
No matter how you choose to find an experienced music instructor, it’s always best to weigh every available option. Don’t be afraid to interview a few instructors before making a final decision. This will help you to pick the right teacher so that you can build a productive, long-term student-instructor relationship.
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