Do you know what you want to get out of your music lessons?  The key to success is finding the right teacher for your needs.  You need a music teacher who will help you achieve your goals and who has experience with students of your age, ability, and mindset.

If you know what you are looking for, simply ask prospective teachers if they enjoy teaching students like you.  While you’re at it, ask these teachers for references.  It’s good to talk to other people who have studied with a particular teacher to hear their perspective.

It’s important for students to know their teacher’s strengths, likes, and dislikes.  For instance, some teachers excel at teaching beginners.  Others only want to work with advanced students but take on beginning and intermediate students to keep their schedules full.  They may resent these beginners and not give their all during lessons.  These teachers may subconsciously be saving their best efforts for their “star” students who are very advanced.

You need to know what your teacher is best at teaching.  If it’s something other than what you need to learn, find another teacher who is perfectly matched to your needs.  Many musicians neglect doing this, and they end up studying with a teacher who is not perfect for them.

My wife teaches violin and viola lessons.  Her specialty is children at the beginning and intermediate levels, and she’s amazing with these young musicians.  Parents know that their kids will be in a patient, nurturing environment that enhances learning, builds self-esteem, and allows children to have fun.  When other parents are looking for a teacher for the young violinist in the family, they know that my wife has the experience and attitude that matches their needs.

If an advanced high school violist were looking for a teacher to help with college audition preparations, they could study with my wife.  As a professional violist, she has the knowledge and skills to help this high school musician excel.  But, this type of lesson isn’t what she does every day, and she sends advanced players to other teachers.

Have you found the perfect teacher for your musical goals?  If not, find the teacher who is just right for you.  After all, it’s your time and money being spent on lessons.  Make sure they’re spent wisely.

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