How to Choose a Violin Teacher?
How to Choose a Violin Teacher?
Henriette discusses the many different aspects that may be involved when choosing a Violin Teacher.
If only choosing a violin teacher was as simple as this poem…
Finding the right violin teacher is a very personal matter. A very important choice too, as you may be working with this person for many years to come and it will be likely that you will spend may hours working together. Your teacher may have a considerable influence on your style of playing, your technique and how you develop as a musician.
When it comes to choosing the right teacher, there are many aspects to consider. I have split these into two categories, one of a more practical nature, and one with a more personal accent.
Bear in mind that no two students would make the same decisions based on the same facts. Finding the right teacher is an individual decision, one that only you can make for yourself.
Location – where will the lessons take place? Do I need to travel, or will the teacher come to me?
Qualification – Is the teacher properly qualified and is he/she a member of a professional body? Is this teacher up to date with professional developments and safeguarding training?
Recommendation – does this teacher come recommended? By whom? Ask friends and relatives.
Availability – when will the lessons take place? How about the frequency of the lessons? Does this teacher go on tour regularly and be absent or will the teacher be unavailable for other reasons?
Teaching method – Does this teacher use a specific teaching method? What happens if you have already been taught via a different method?
Great performer – Some great performers are also great teachers, but this is not necessarily the case. On the other hand there are great teachers who are not great performers. How do you feel about this?
Style of music – Does the teacher teach a particular style of music: classical, folk or jazz? What style would you like to learn? Is crossover in genre possible with this teacher?
Affordability – what do the lessons cost per hour, or per course? Do I need to buy books, or an instrument?
Is this teacher friendly and welcoming? Do I feel at ease with this teacher? Do I have an immediate rapport with this person?
How about this teacher’s enthusiasm for their instrument? Do they show a passion about teaching?
Do I think this teacher will boost my confidence and my enjoyment of playing my instrument and music in general? Would I feel okay about showing my emotions with this teacher, even if I hit an obstacle in my learning?
Will this teacher listen to my needs, answer my questions, allow me the space to grow as a person or as a musician? Is this teacher patient and encouraging?
Will this teacher maximise my potential, put me in for exams or drive me too hard? What are the teacher’s medium or long term goals with the lessons? Do these goals match with what I want to achieve in the lessons?
As a teacher, I believe that all these considerations are important, although some of the answers to the questions above may be revealed only after you have had lessons with someone for some time.
What if things don’t work out?
No two people are the same and a teacher will approach every student in a slightly different way. Also, over time, a teacher’s approach may change and so may the expectations and priorities of a student. Talk to each other frequently and discuss how you think things are going. Try to nip any misunderstandings in the bud, as small issues may develop into bigger things, which may be more difficult to resolve. Most importantly, follow your instincts, listen to that voice in your head and decide what is right for you!