Meri’s Musical Musings

Some clues to finding a professional private music teacher

Posted on: July 8, 2009

Look to see if they participate in any online forums. Typing in a teacher’s name and perhaps specifying location will often help you find out if the teacher gets involved.

Look for articles they have written. My current piano teacher regularly wrote articles for a major music publication, and when I one day I saw he had opnings for students, I was hooked. And his lessons were great! (For the record, a couple of my music aricles have been published by professional music journals) But sometimes you can find their articles online, such as a blog or website.

Listen for the kinds of things they say, and how they say it: professional teachers will often insist on quality equipment, and some will not accept students on less than adequate equipment. I give my students a fine start by insisting on a quality instrument, good quality mouthpieces, reeds, ligatures. Some fine teachers are gold mines of interesting musical trivia. (and if you think I am one, then you should get to know my husband!)

Exams. Many of the better teachers require most if not all students to do them.

Good teachers are often aware or can even perform some of the major repertoire for their instrument

They have collections of recordings, especially of the major repertoire for the instruments they teach.

They encourage study of the eye and ear as it relates to music

They encourage their students to audition for special ensembles, and their students usually get accepted

The kinds of things they leave lying around their music studio: a teacher who leaves sheet music, music books of a variety of levels, music magazines, music CDs, music-related computer programs, and music-related décor items usually shows a teacher passionate about music.

Teach a variety of music. Gone are the days when most teachers only taught classical music. Many teachers are comfortable with at least jazz or popular music, although many of the techniques used in those styles are well developed in classical music.

Offers a comphrensive curriculum. In addition to training on an instrument, most of the beter teachers are able to teach related musical subjects such as ear training,rhythmic training, and sight reading. Some teachers also offer training in psychological or physical techniques to make playing easier and better.

They know the best places to take instruments for adjustments or repairs, and are happy to recommend them to you (and love it when you take their advice!) Like there’s only a couple of piano tuners/technicians I would recommend, and only a couple of woodwind people I would recommend based on the fact that I have tried different people and learned for myself the incompetent ones.


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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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