Picking the Right Music Teacher for Your Child

Ardene Shafer  

Brought to you by MENC: The National Association for Music Education.

It's easy to be overwhelmed by the prospect of evaluating a music teacher for your child, especially if you have no music background yourself. But now you can relax -- we've taken the guesswork out of the selection process with this checklist. The most important part of selecting a private teacher is to find the right match for your child. Music lessons are a personal activity and the relationship your child has with his or her teacher is key to achieving a successful, long-term educational experience.

1. Ask for recommendations for good music instructors from friends, teachers, music teachers, and others in your community.

2. Interview the prospective teacher to find out his or her: * qualifications * teaching experience * policies regarding fees, cancellations, etc. * professional development

3. What are the teacher's practice and performance requirements? Teachers working with older students from school programs may not have performance or recital requirements due to the demands of the school music program. But all teachers should have some type of practice requirements.

4. Does the teacher have his or her students study a variety of music and music styles?

5. Does the teacher incorporate theory and history into the lessons?

6. Once you've selected someone, ask to sit in on a few lessons in order to observe the relationship developing between your child and the teacher. Look for the teacher to inspire and your child to cooperate. Your child should have his or her interest sparked by the teacher and want to learn more.

7. Attend a recital given by the students of the teacher. Talk to other parents about their views of the teacher's lessons.

8. Does the teacher help his or her students to set goals for progress? Does the teacher provide formal or informal evaluations for parents so you can see your child's progress?

9. Ask for references if appropriate.

Sometimes, the best advice you can get about choosing a music teacher is from other parents who've been there.

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