How to Find a Music Tutor or Instructor

When it's time to look for a tutor, it's essential to take some time to do your research. Looking for a teacher will save time, money, and frustration during lessons. The teacher’s job is to guide students and advise them on how to improve their abilities. It is not always possible to be your best critic; even professional musicians still take lessons to get that valuable second opinion. It is essential to look for a teacher you can relate to, teaches to your learning style, and takse teaching seriously. You should also decide from the beginning if you want to take it online or in-person. With online lessons, you may be able to access more prominent instructors who aren't available locally. In-person lessons are essential for some students who need demonstrations and don't want to deal with technology. 

Research Options

Find a list of teachers that specializes in your specific instrument. Prospective students can look in grocery store community boards and local coffee shops and browse through online teacher resources. There are many high-quality resources that a student can use to find teachers. It also makes a lot of sense to consult your local university. Faculty are often interested in the community, and they can recommend instructors who might be available to help you. In some cases, you might even find an instructor willing to teach you outside their normal university obligations. 

Lesson Policies

Contact the teacher to get information on make-up lessons, payment, and general policies. This is not the time to go into specific detail about every policy but to talk with the teacher and get a general feel for their teaching style. A famous performer won't do you any good if they can't teach or give you the needed attention. This is also an excellent time to ask about general policies such as how often it will be required to purchase books, if the teacher provides the materials, or if you need to find them on your own. Many teachers will require payments upfront for a month, semester, bi-annually, or even annually. Make-up lesson policies will differ with each teacher, but most instructors will provide you with one make-up lesson per month. Remember that teachers are scheduling a time that another student could use, so it is essential to be understanding of these make-up policies.

Evaluate the Studio

Assess the level of the studios' current students. If you are looking for an advanced teacher and the studio only has children, there is a good chance that that studio is not a good fit. Teachers often cater to specific age groups. Teachers often require students to have a certain level of ability before a student can take lessons. Talk to the teacher about the ability of the students that they teach. If you have any concerns, discuss your experiences with the teacher and ask straightforwardly if you are a good fit for their studio. Most teachers are honest about these questions since their reputation relies on honesty in the community. This is also an excellent time to ask how many years they have been teaching, if they have a degree or certification, and if they are a member of any music organizations such as the Music Teachers National Association. If a studio only has a few students, this could indicate a new teacher or a teacher maintaining a robust performance or composition schedule. Don't rule out a studio based on the number of students. Fewer students may translate to more attention. 

Studio Perks

Ascertain whether there are any additional perks for the studio. Do they offer online courses? Online courses are a great but rare addition to a studio since they allow students access to resources when the teacher is not usually available. Online lessons record the format more quickly and are available for student review. While the recording of one on one lessons is also possible, generally, online lessons give the teacher more freedom to respond and take additional time on a lesson when necessary. Some studios also give free resources to students or publish their own materials. If you're just starting out and want to learn the basics of music, consider starting with a textbook to see how far you can go. 

Parental Involvement

If you are a parent, the instructor should have no problem with you sitting in on the lesson. If you are a parent and you have the time, you should ask about this option. Sitting in on a lesson with your student can give you insight into the music tutor's teaching style. You can also ask relevant questions and be more capable of helping your child at home. Remember that the lesson is not a group lesson, and you should refrain from asking any questions during the lesson. You can certainly clarify any assignments, but questions should be reserved for the end of the lesson. 

Online Performance, Music Theory, and Music Composition Lessons

Online lessons are most useful for music theory, composition, and non-performance-related studies. Performance-based tasks often require one on one interaction. Some students thrive in an online environment, but it's important to be realistic about your learning style. Music instructors and tutors often have more trouble correcting your posture or demonstrating a technique online. 

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