Tips on how to choose a private instructor.
While I have a list of recommended private teachers for your student's instrument, it is also very important to consider the following thoughts as you go through the process of contacting private teachers.
1. How active is their studio?
Some teachers have studio recitals once or twice a year, have extra performances, or are encouraged to partake in extra ensembles such as honor bands or instrumental choirs. It is my belief that it is very important for a student to have ALL of these opportunities offered to them in order to grow as musicians, so do not hesitate to ask this question!
2. How often are lessons?
Most teachers have a busy schedule whether it is with performances or other teaching obligations at the public school level. Lessons should ALWAYS be weekly if possible. Weekly lessons will cultivate a routine and also be the quickest way for students to improve. Bi-weekly or once a month lessons will yield little to no results.
3. How much do they charge?
This one is tricky. Private teachers, most of the time, deserve what they charge. They have built up all of this knowledge since they were a young student just like your student and is usually specialized in their instrument. That knowledge is very valuable and is something that cannot be learned over night. Now, what I would recommend is to check their performance background, degrees, and maybe ask to hear a recording of them or their students.
4. Are they a professional musician, college music major, or high school student?
I firmly believe that you should always go for the teacher that has the most experience. Now, if cost is an issue, consider taking lessons from a college music major until your student is even more dedicated, then really challenge them by putting them in lessons with a professional musician. PLEASE try to stay clear from high school students as teachers. While some students are very advanced in playing... teaching and playing are two complete different worlds and that high school student most likely does not have the proper training to teach your child. It can cause more harm than good. It is rare that I recommend a student take lessons with a high school student. If you have a high school student in mind, please contact me first before going through with lessons with them.
5. Are they professional?
Do they respond to emails or phone calls in a timely manner? Do they treat everyone with respect? This should be a given, but this could sometimes be a make or break with lesson teachers.
6. Where are they located?
Location is sometimes the biggest factor. My suggestion: don't let it be. If the teacher is a great teacher, you should think more about the product rather than the time spent traveling there. Now, traveling an hour or more might be a different story. BUT that is not the case in this area. You can typically find someone within 20-30 minutes from you (which really isn't that much travel time!).