Meri’s Musical Musings

Top 10 things your new private music teacher does not want to hear before you sign up with them

Posted on: December 27, 2013

10. “I/my child only want to learn to play by ear, we don’t want to learn to read music or any of that music theory stuff” And have to depend on other people to write down your songs/pieces you come up with? And music theory will actually make figuring out tunes by ear easier, as you’ll understand how the language of notated music works!

9. “We only want to try lessons for a few weeks/months to see if our child likes it” Plan on at least 2-3 years of lessons from a quality teacher to see clear achievement and links to academic improvement.

8. “We only have a keyboard, is this fine for piano lessons?” That’s like asking if a typewriter is fine for learning computer skills!

7. “We’re kind of tight money wise, can you do every other week lessons?” For beginners, especially children, this is a TOTAL no-no, and progress will typically be cut to less than half of what it normally would be if the student was taking weekly lessons.

6. “Do you give sibling/group discounts?” Some do, many teachers don’t, but WAIT for the teacher to mention if they do.

5. “But my last teacher only charged $10-$15 a lesson” Well, we’re not that person, and in some places that fee is less than minimum wage per hour!

4. “But lessons with you are so expensive!” Yeah, but when you or your kid progresses three times faster with good technique and musical style, it’s worth it.

3. “But you’re so far away!” Your teacher probably traveled at least 1 hour per direction for a really good teacher, and on some instruments you have to travel at least that to find a teacher at all. Plus the top teachers probably have students who do or have travelled long distances to study with them!

2. “How many students do you teach?” That’s none of your business, smaller studios (up to 15 students or so) sometimes choose quality over quantity, plus many teachers, especially the top teachers on most instruments, are performing musicians and regularly have rehearsals and performances to attend.

1. “Will you travel to my home to teach the lessons?” From most teachers, the answer is a big, resounding NO, expect to have to go to a teacher’s location unless the teacher is a travelling teacher, or you have exceptional circumstances, especially if it’s because of severe disabilities, and the student is not mature enough to travel on their own to lessons.


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  • 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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