Meri’s Musical Musings

How to find a quality private music teacher

Posted on: June 17, 2009

Attend concerts of some musicians and then asking afterwards if they teach. Some of my students found me as a teacher because they saw me perform!

Ask at the conservatory or university music faculty,the university music faculty is how I found my first clarinet teacher (he wasn’t available that summer but one of his good friends was).

Look for teachers who write music articles, they may be published on their blog, or even better, in professional music publications,  live in your area, I know  with my piano teacher, I knew he wrote for a professional music publication, as I had seen his articles several times. I also know at least one parent who said that they thought I was a serious teacher because of the kinds of music articles I write!

Look for a teacher wo does more than teach. A few teachers create arrangements and compositions, and some of the finest teachers I know are excellent performers. My best private music teachers were the ones who largely devoted themselves to music.

When attending a wedding, if there are musicians, which most have at least a pianist or organist, sometimes string quartets, and very occasionally other instruments, many musicians who perform at those functions also happen to teach. With vocal teachers this may not be as reliable, but musicians at weddings are often of very good quality.

Look for clues in the way the teacher advertises for lessons. A lot of teachers will say that they are experienced, highly qualified, or teach all levels, but choose a teacher whose student perform well at exams, auditions, and competitions, even if those things are not necessarily your goals (and to weed out teachers who don’t do them for students who show signs that they would do well in those events.)

Look for a teacher with a reasonable studio policy. There are a lot of teachers who run without one (and I used to be one of those), or the opposite extreme have restrctive studio policies (such as no makeups for any reason, or required summer lessons, my teacher gives me some flexibility (because they have lives beyond the teacher’s studio).

Look for a teacher who charges respectable fees. Generally, don’t go to a teacher who charges what a housecleaner or babysitter charges, because the private music teacher spends years in training, unlike housecleaners and babysitters, who usually at most only have only a few weeks of training. (however, I love the housecleaner I have now, after trying two other people before her! Plus I worked as a babysitter as a teen up to my first year of university.)

Look for a teacher that has several open slots. Some teachers pack their students so tightly in such a way there is little breathing room to add new students (especialy for families where eventually there may be at least two students taking lessons), expand lesson times of existing ones, or to do more than teach. Especially for students who have busy lives, teachers whould have some flexibillity to reschedule lessons due to conflicts.


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  • None
  • V V: Wish I had read this before I fell for their scheme ! Oh well - have posted my experience on Yelp and N49 and hoping others can avoid the pain of fal
  • clariniano: Thanks for the additional information. It was actually Yelp that deleted my reviews, because of so-called bias. I too have seen the horrible technique
  • No Thanks: Former Teacher at the Ontario Conservatory of Music I took lessons at the Ontario Conservatory and when I left for private lessons from another tea
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