Teaching Philosophy

I believe the following points to be a must for a teacher to be effective:

  • Be an outstanding performer. Ultimately, if you can't play it, the student never actually hears what the teacher is asking for.
  • Specialize in the instrument you are teaching. Only beginning level students can be taught on a secondary instrument ­ there are certain performance/theory concepts that can be taught, but ultimately, one's teacher should always be able to "outplay" one's student
  • Play your instrument for your students during their lesson
  • Set high standards of performance for your students
  • Help students prepare for various performance opportunities and auditions throughout the year
  • Refuse to teach students that do not practice or come to lessons unprepared
  • Be organized ­ students need the discipline of a structured lesson plan, written expectations, follow-through, and measurement of their progress
  • Be passionate! Enthusiasm for making music should be a constant in lessons - after all, this is what it's all about!

Other considerations when selecting a private instructor:

  • Do they have a degree in music education?
    • Some performers do make great teachers as well, but it is a rare find. Many teach as the only way they can earn money in between gigs. Seek out teachers who studied HOW to TEACH, and finished their degree. They studied it first and foremost, because of their passion for teaching. And they've had the preparation to know how to plan, follow-through, and measure each student's progress.
  • Are they charging much less than the competition?
    • Ever heard of the expression, you get what you pay for? This definitely holds true in the music business. Often, charging less for lessons means a desire to have a very large studio (in excess of 30 students), which also often means less attention to the individual student.
  • Will they offer a trial lesson?
    • This doesn't necessarily mean free, but do they set up a trial lesson in which they review with you (the parent and student) their studio policy, their teaching style, etc..
    • Are they interested in why the student is seeking private lessons, and what exactly they want to gain from them?
      • Be wary of instructors that are VERY stagnant in their teaching, sticking every student into the exact same "boat", so to speak.
      • Some instructors don't express any interest in why/who wanted the student to take privately, and are just there for a few extra bucks a week

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