Hey, Y’all, (Hey All?)
With next week being my last week teaching music regularly, I have been considering posting something, but really couldn’t think of anything fitting or comprehensive.
A friend asked me today if I would recommend someone to teach their friend’s child, but instead of recommending someone by name, I wrote the following which I think is important to share.
The importance is that there are many ‘reasons’ we choose music teachers, phone companies, insurance companies, etcetera, but not all of these reasons are thoroughly considered. Sometimes, I have chosen to use a company simply because they were not Company Y; I hated my experience with Company Y.
See what I mean?
However, the following are, in my opinion, a good way to learn which person will truly help you become a real student of music.
My suggestion would be to meet as many teachers as possible and keep a few things in mind:
1. Great players do not always (usually?) equal great teachers. Don’t choose a teacher based on the public opinion that this person is a great player. They may very well be a great player, but can they help YOU become a great player?
2. Most of the lesson time should be spent with the STUDENT playing. Teachers must be able to demonstrate, but we have already practiced and your lesson time is NOT our showoff time.
3. Price is only relevant to the student’s budget. As much as it drives me crazy, there are still Dr.’s of Music charging College Freshman rates.
4. Progress is ONLY measured by the increase in the student’s ability to play music, not the number of pages of ‘stuff’ the student is unable to play. If a student takes three weeks to learn how to play the chords of a tune in time, then it takes three weeks…this isn’t a race and musical ability is a lifetime journey.
I hope these points make sense and don’t sound cynical. These are just the most common problems I have seen in 19 years of teaching. I’ve even made them myself early in my teaching.
Oh, and thanks for the best 19 years of my professional life.