5 Tips for Finding a Music Teacher

Katie Xiao with Jennifer Rundlett
Katie Xiao with Jennifer Rundlett as she waits her turn to compete for the 14th annual shields scholarship competition, Saturday August 3rd 2013 at Frederick Community College

Another school year is about to begin and I have just put to bed another Shields Competition. We had such a wonderful day of music making last Saturday that it fills me will hope for our future. I can see that there is another generation of music lovers coming along and it is a great encouragement to me. So now that the dust has settled , I had a moment to sit down and reflect on all the “unknowns” each parent is dealing with in finding the right music teacher for their son or daughter.

And so, I will take this opportunity to give my 5 tips parents should considering when looking for a music teacher.
#1. Private Lessons are essential for your child to excel on any instrument. One on one instruction with a musician who specializes in playing your child’s instrument will give them a tremendous advantage and work to promote healthy habits on their instrument. This will increase their enjoyment of the experience and increase the odds of them “sticking with it” when things get a little difficult as they most always do with any new endeavor.
#2. Not every instrument is for everybody. While your child may not take to one instrument, they may be perfectly suited to another. The piano for example is suited, I find, to those who love to work in solitude while the string and wind instruments work well for those who love playing in a group. Think about your child’s personality when picking an instrument.
#3. Ask for your teachers credentials. Where did they go to school and with whom did they study? Are they currently performing any where in the area? If this seems out of your depth, than go to an institution of higher learning that you can trust has properly interviewed their teachers.
#4. Look for a teacher that offers performance opportunities. It is a good idea to ask each potential teacher how often their students perform in recitals. It is very important for the student to have regular recital performances to work towards. Setting the student a realistic goal with a positive outcome will increase their success rate and also promote self-confidence and stage presence.
#5. Go to a recital in your area to hear the quality of students a teacher is producing. Once you have taken the time to do this, stay around for the after recital reception to talk with parents and students about how they feel studying with their  teacher. You can learn a lot about a teacher by observing their student teacher interaction after a recital and it is easy to tell when there is a warm working relationship between each of them.
Your child will be building life long love of music and involvement in the arts if they get a good start with a quality teacher.

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