What to Look For in a Potential Teacher

Updated: Aug 30, 2019

You just made a great decision to begin taking music lessons. Congratulations! But what do you do next? How do you decide who to choose as your new teacher?


Here are some suggestions you can think about to help you make your decision:


1. Make sure your goals align.

What do you want to get out of your lessons? You will need a teacher that helps you define your personal and musical goals and gives you the guidance and support you need to make them happen. A teacher who undervalues your goals or doesn’t take them seriously will not only hold you back, but could possibly cause you to lose motivation and discontinue your lessons completely. Alternatively, a teacher who demands more of you than you find personally fulfilling could also cause you to want to discontinue your lessons.


How to find out

Ask a potential teacher what goals they usually have for their students and see if they line up with yours. Ask them if they have any requirements or deadlines for progress, require participation in any recitals, or ask you to compete with your peers. Ask them if they have any practice expectations.

2. Make sure you communicate well

Your teacher will need to explain some very challenging concepts and techniques to you throughout your study. Make sure that your potential teacher can communicate with you clearly and effectively in ways that are relevant to you.


How to find out

Ask the teacher to explain a musical concept you haven’t learned yet. This can be as simple as asking a teacher to explain how an instrument works, or how to recognize notes written on a piece of sheet music. Make sure to ask plenty of questions if you need help understanding a topic.

3. Make sure you feel comfortable

Have you ever tried to learn something new when you were feeling uncomfortable? It’s not easy! It is important to make sure you are in an environment that allows you to focus on developing your musical skills. This means you should choose a teacher that allows you to learn at a pace that is comfortable to you without rushing you or losing patience during the lesson. This also means making sure your physical environment is welcoming and not distracting (Is the temperature too warm? Does the classroom offer enough privacy? Are there any loud noises or other distractions nearby?).


How to find out

Ask a potential teacher if they would be willing to meet with you before you commit to taking lessons with them. Some teachers and schools will offer a free trial lesson or a tour of their facilities to help you make an educated decision. Take advantage of these opportunities to learn more about the individual personalities of each teacher and check out the learning space!

4. Make sure your schedules are compatible

We all know that life can get crazy. Schedules can change all of the time, and setting aside time to learn something new can be a challenge. Make sure that your potential teacher offers availability that accommodates your schedule and doesn’t put too much of a strain on your regular routine. Trying to learn something new at a time that is too early or too late in the day, or at an inconvenient time, can be distracting.


How to find out

Make sure to find out what the teacher’s hours of operation are. Make sure they can meet with you during a time that is convenient for you and doesn’t cause you any additional stress. And if you ever need to change your schedule or move your lesson to a different day, make sure the teacher has a flexible scheduling and rescheduling policy so that you can continue your music education no matter what your schedule looks like.

5. Make sure you’ll learn what you WANT To learn

Imagine arriving at your first music lesson. It’s exciting! Maybe your new teacher will show you how to finally play that one song you always wanted to learn. You greet your new teacher, sit down with your instrument, and...nothing exciting happens. Your teacher shows you how to play a C major scale and sends you home. They don’t ask you what you want to learn, and maybe they disregard your request to learn that one song.

A lot of teachers are concerned about making sure you learn skills and techniques early in your musical journey that will help you as you progress, and that is an important approach. But it’s just as important to make sure that students are learning things that inspire and motivate them, too! Make sure you find a teacher that can find ways to combine exciting music with technical development so that you can learn what you need to learn while still having fun along the way.


How to find out

Ask your potential teacher how they introduce new students to their instruments. Ask if they would be willing to help you learn what you would like to learn in addition to learning the fundamentals of music (like reading music, playing scales, etc).


The Takeaway

Deciding that you would like to learn a new instrument is exciting! Finding the right teacher for you may take time and several tries, but it’s well worth your effort. The right teacher will be able to inspire and motivate you, help you meet your musical goals, and introduce you to new goals that you may have never even thought of.


Your Next Steps

Shop around! Find a few teachers close to where you live or work, and give them a call. Ask them about their approach, their scheduling/rescheduling policies, and even ask to check out their venue in person. You can also always give us a call or send us a message here at Bold City Music Co. any time to discuss your music needs and create a plan that works for you.


Happy learning!


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BOLD CITY MUSIC CO.

We strive every day to bring you the best music education in Jacksonville. We offer affordable music lessons for students of all ages and abilities.

Email: info@boldcitymusicco.com

Phone: (904) 861-4224

M-F 8 am - 8 pm 

Sat/Sun 10 am - 6 pm

2720 College Street

Jacksonville, FL 32205

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