If you have decided you want to learn to play the violin, or you already play but need a better teacher, then this post is for you. Choosing the right teacher for your goals and needs is so important because it may be a long-lasting relationship that will impact your love of the violin and achieving the success and skills you desire.
Here are three steps to find your perfect fit:
1. Go back to school. The best referrals you can get to a pool of qualified teachers in your area is through the music programs at your local schools. Whether public or private schools, these music educators know who they trust and associate with. Serious string players tend to help and rely on each other, so if one teacher recommends another you can be confident that they believe in their teaching and playing abilities. Local colleges and universities are excellent resources for intermediate to advanced players, as well. For very advanced students, reach out to past teachers and associates. Find out what they loved about their teachers and note the advantages they gained or skills that you are looking for. As these align with your goals you will have a clear picture of who to seek out for an initial conversation.
If this is not an option, or you are looking for the convenience of lessons via Skype or FaceTime, then steps two and three become even more critical in your search.
2. Experience. Carefully look at their education and teaching experience. If they have a presence online or with social media, watch their videos and read their comments. You will get a feel for their purpose as a teacher or performer. There are many incredibly skilled players the world over, but also very many without the desire or ability to teach well. Look at how many years they have been teaching actual students. Read testimonials or speak with other students and parents to know the strengths of that teacher. Do not rely on paper degrees to inform your decision on whether or not someone is qualified to teach you. I know some incredible violinists in this category. Indeed some of my best teachers and mentors have no paper degree, but they are armed with a lifetime of experience and devotion to the study of their instrument.
3. Interview your options. You are choosing a teacher. Schedule a time to meet and ask questions so that you can get a feel for their personality. You want to know if their goals align with your goals. A good teacher will welcome the chance to meet and speak with you before beginning lessons. Some questions you should consider asking are: How long have you been teaching? What repertoire and method of teaching do you use? What is your availability? What is tuition for lessons? What do you expect from your students and parents?
Following these three steps, Go back to school, examining Experience, and Interviewing your options, will ensure that you find the perfect violin teacher for you.
Here are some other great articles on finding the right violin teacher: