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Choosing a Music Teacher

Choosing a Music Teacher

Published: 08/15/2010 by Shelley Steele-Gittel, M.A., B. Music

» Education & Learning Support

One particular question that is repeated among parents is: “What do I ask a music teacher who I am considering hiring for lessons?” Below are six questions that can help families successfully find a music teacher.

“What is your music background?” In other words, does the teacher have formal music school or post-secondary training?  Good indicators of a strong musician and teacher are that they have some sort of music diploma or a Bachelor’s degree or higher in the music field.

“Can we check references?” Quality studios or teachers will quickly provide these to you upon request. Be sure to ask references how long they have been with the teacher and if they are happy with their lessons. Ask them if they have any concerns with their teacher and what they are.


“Can you provide a background check?” Police background checks are common whenever adults work with children and youth. It takes about a week for a teacher to obtain a background check. If this is something that is important to you then feel free to ask for one. Background checks should be available anytime upon request.


“Do you have recitals?” It is important for students to have the opportunity to showcase their skills. If a student is not comfortable or too shy to perform the opportunity to sit through a recital can be very motivating. Most music studios will have at least two performance opportunities throughout the year.


“Can we attend a recital?” Teachers usually encourage potential students and their families to sit through a recital or meet face to face prior to beginning formal lessons. After the recital you get a chance to ask other parents and students what they like best about the teacher.


“May I watch the lessons?” Parents should always be granted access to attend any or all of the lessons whether they are in your home or in a studio. Sitting through lessons is not only for safety and peace of mind for all parties involved but it also allows parents to learn along with the child and support their practice efforts.


The average range of a beginner student is between 6-10 years. Some studios will have students wait until they can read while others will have extensive music programming for 3-4 year olds. It is best to ask.  There is no “best instrument” but the most popular instrument is the piano or keyboard.


Music lessons are usually 30 minutes weekly and there can be several costs.


The first is the lessons themselves. Other costs may include a registration fee, books and music supplies and the instrument itself.  Remember to start simple and consider renting or buying a less expensive instrument until your student is sure they want to continue lessons.

Best of luck on your search for the right
music teacher!