Q: How does one go about selecting a teacher?
A: Are you looking for a teacher to help motivate you and/or
provide performance opportunities for you? Are you preparing
for a specific goal: performance, recording session, competition,
college auditions? Do you want weekly lessons or would you prefer
occasional coaching sessions?
I recommend getting referrals from various sources such as music schools, musicians, and music organizations. Music organizations
such as: The New
England Piano Teachers Association
and the Music
Teachers National Association
may provide lists of teachers
in your area. Teachers have many different qualifications and
it can be difficult to decide what qualifications are important
to you. If you are preparing for an audition or competition
it is important to select a teacher who has the qualifications
and experience for that level of teaching. You also want to find a teqacher who will help you reach your goals in a healthy and positive way. Do you need to be pushed or are you very self motivated? Usually, if you take
the time to ask a lot of questions, you will have a better idea
as to what kind of teacher will be best for you.
Request an interview with prospective teachers. An interview
provides an excellent opportunity for you to
meet with the teacher so you can each communicate your needs,
expectations, and goals. A good interview
will provide insight into how a prospective teacher might work
I believe that for a student/teacher relationship to be effective
it is important that the teacher and student establish and cultivate
a positive working relationship. This is an ongoing process,
not something that will be completed during the interview. However,
the interview will give you some idea as to
whether or not you will work well together. Ideally, an
advanced student should feel that his or her goals and needs will
be supported by the teacher. The advanced student should respect the teacher but also feel comfortable to be engaged in the process.
Communication is extremely important: use the interview to get
a sense of how comfortable you feel communicating with the teacher.
Try to get a sense of whether or not you are a 'good fit'.
Studio policies vary. Ideally, you should be comfortable
with the policy. Is there a set schedule and if so, is payment
made for individual lessons or by the semester? How are lesson
cancellations handled? Does the tuition include recitals, workshops,
and/or group classes?