Whether you're looking for yourself or for your child, it's important that the musical tuition you find is not just affordable, but good quality and, perhaps most important, comfortable. Choosing a teacher who is less expensive may end up being more expensive if they don't teach very well, and will almost certainly be a waste of money if you or your child aren't comfortable learning with them. It's important to enjoy playing your instrument and that also means being happy with your tuition.
So how do you make sure that your music teacher will provide the quality tuition you are looking for?
Get in Touch
Once you have found your prospective teachers, either through reference, adverts, or a database such as musicteachers.co.uk, your first step should be to get in touch. There will be a number of questions you want to ask them, and asking in person is always better than asking via email. You can either arrange a meeting or, if you feel it's safer, simply discuss over the phone. Here are a few of the things you will want to ask them about:
How long a person has been in any profession is important, but teaching is a profession where experience cannot be replaced by skill or willing. The longer a person has been teaching, the more experience they will have had of different types of students and the mistakes that learners can make. In turn, this creates better teachers, and create better musicians of their students.
Don't rely on experience alone as a measure of quality, but it is a very important consideration, and worth noting that a more experienced teacher is more likely to help you learn, flourish and grow.
Also important are references. It's unfortunate to have to say it, but you need to be able to trust that the person you are speaking to is who they say they are, especially when you are seeking a teacher for your child. Most music teachers will be able to provide good quality references when you ask for them, and will even expect you to ask, so don't be hesitant.
If you get in direct touch with the teacher's referees, it will probably be worth asking them the same or similar questions that you asked the teacher, just to double check that they are right. As well as fact checking, references will also provide an indication of quality and teaching style.
If they aren't offered as referees, it may also be worth asking if you can speak to some of the current students to find out their experiences and how well the teacher works for them. Everyone learns differently, but at least you will be able to gauge how the teacher teaches.
Before making your final decision, it's probably worth scheduling a free consultation with your potential teacher. This will give you the chance to meet them in person prior to beginning lessons so that you can get a feel for their personality and whether it suits you or your child. This also allows you to ask further questions and get some direction, while also discussing your own preferences. This is often easiest to do in person, when communication is at its easiest.
If you're not sure what you should be discussing with your music teacher, you can find a few example questions which you might want to ask on the Music Teachers site:
If you're struggling to find a potential music teacher in the first place, then musicteachers.co.uk is also an invaluable resource for finding a music teacher in your area. You can search within an area, by instrument and using a number of other keywords which will help narrow your search to a teacher that suits you.