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Choosing a Music Teacher

Aug 17, 2007
Although it is quite possible to teach yourself how to play an instrument, the advances that you can make with a good music teacher and following a course of structured lessons can not be overvalued. Don't be afraid to make that call to a teacher and discuss your needs. As adults it can be hard to take that first step, but playing music is undeniably good for the soul, and you shouldn't allow yourself to miss out on the opportunity to feel happier and learn something new.

Before you make that call it helps to know what style of music you would like to learn so you can discuss this with a prospective music teacher. Learning a style you enjoy helps you to stay motivated and make you want to keep practicing. It will also help your teacher to tailor the lessons to suit you.

Music teachers can be found in the local papers, Yellow Pages and Thompson Local as well as on the internet. Go to Google and type in 'music teachers in' and add your town and county. Another good source is your local music shop. They usually know the local teachers personally, or know of the good ones from word of mouth from their customers.

There are a number of things to consider when choosing a music teacher, and price should really NOT be one of them. Four lessons a month with an adequate teacher who is cheap may not be as beneficial to you as twice a month with a superior but more expensive teacher. It's true that more expensive is not always better, but an excellent teacher will have no problem finding students prepared to pay a higher rate.

You can expect to pay anywhere from 12 to 30 an hour, though many teachers offer half hour lessons which may well be better for people early into their instrument playing. Ask if there is the possibility of group lessons, if this suits you. This can seriously help reduce the costs for those on tight budget. Those who have family constraints or transport problems might want to consider having a teacher come to their home.

Any good teacher will be happy to talk to you about the possibility of teaching you and should be happy to answer your questions.

* Ask if you can sit in on a lesson. This is especially good if you're thinking of taking group lessons.

* Avoid teachers who are not 'fun'. Playing an instrument should be fun not a chore. If you don't find learning with a particular teacher fun, move on. It should not be work, otherwise you'd work an instrument not play it

* Ask if you can tape record any lessons you have. A teacher who is confident in their teaching methods will have no problem with this, and you will have a source of reference to help you in your practice.

* Never be afraid to ask what their professional and educational experience is. While qualifications may not be everything you should expect a music teacher to have taken their music exams in the instrument or instruments they teach. Also find out how long they've been teaching and the kind of people they teach. For example, do they teach adults and children? References can be asked for, but none come higher than personal recommendation from a happy student.

* Ask how much practice is expected of you, and find out if there will be opportunities to perform in the future, especially if you are learning an instrument that plays as part of large band or orchestra.

Which ever path you go down, the bottom line is practice practice practice. Little and often is always better than spending 4 hours the day before your next lesson trying to practice what you were shown last lesson! It never fools the teacher and all you do is waste your own money and time. Things sink in better if practiced a little everyday anyway. To spend 10 minutes several times a day working on something you find particularly difficult can often achieve better results than 2 hours in one sitting.
About the Author
Sam Salmon runs I Wanted to be a Pop Star http://www.iwantedtobeapopstar.co.uk helping amateur musicians find others to play with.
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