Your child wants to play an instrument.
So you’ve been on a websites and asked friends, trawled through endless names, elaborate biographies and dodgy videos. Once you’ve located a few hopefuls, what should you do?
First of all, its important to know what you want. Just because Pete Howard* has performed on TV many times, it doesn't mean he’ll be able to teach your tired child a C major scale after school. Take the time to call any teachers that have potential and tell them about your child, what you want from a teacher and ask what they want from you. The more questions you ask, the better informed you’ll be. It’s like buying a car. Most people will buy car that will not only take them from A - B, but will make the journey as smooth, comfortable and be as reliable as possible. A child’s music teacher can potentially shape the rest of their musical lives. Take your time, get informed and ask questions.
Again with the car analogies. Test drive! Thankfully many teachers will offer a free trial lesson so take advantage! Visit a few and again, don’t make a decision in a rush. Use this time to see how the teacher interacts with your child, if they are only interested in going from point A to point B, or more invested in the journey. Also, try and sit in during that first lesson. Clearly the teacher in question will be trying to impress you, but it’s best not to just rely on your child’s decision.
Talk to your child and the teacher. Many children after having one introductory lesson with a smiling and friendly teacher might be inclined to approve without much thought. Try to find out why your child likes the teacher (just saying they’re nice is not reason enough) and even what they didn’t like.
The same goes for the teacher. Be open about your schedules, expectations and the role music plays in your family. Allow the teacher to see if they can fit into your child’s life, after all, they also need to make a decision whether they can really help your child or not.
A good teacher can help your child learn an instrument. A great teacher can help to shape their whole musical lives.
*random made up name. If he really exists, I’m sure he’s a great teacher…