When children first begin school, we hope they get the best teachers for all their school subjects. For example, for a child that has trouble with math, we hope for the best math teacher to help strengthen weaknesses and catch the child up to his or her peers. This will, in turn, increase confidence and even rekindle curiosity in the subject. For the child that loves math and wants to be an engineer, we hope for the best math teacher that will challenge the student’s abilities, even surpassing peers, and allow the student to advance at an accelerated pace. This child will become well-prepared for a future in math, should he or she choose. A great teacher is able to and will help a student make progress no matter their future professional goals. Just like in the academic subjects, it is important to have a great music teacher at all ability levels.
First, a great teacher is able to quickly identify and correct problems the student has, thus alleviating frustration and allowing the student to overcome problems and make quick progress. Noticeable progress is motivating and keeps students satisfied and improves confidence. Second, a great teacher also teaches the students how to practice effectively and efficiently to maximize learning and progress. Even students that begin lessons hesitantly because of the work have realized that the efficient practicing that is required for lessons allows them great gains over a short period of time. Lastly, students that would like to earn scholarship or participate in selective ensembles maximize their chances by studying with an absolute expert in teaching the subject from the very beginning of their studies.
Students that start with taking lessons with a great, experienced teacher either at the very beginning of playing or within their first year are at a great advantage. Starting lessons earlier in a student’s musical career helps develop great habits for playing. Also, studying with an amateur teacher or an inexperienced teacher can allow students to develop beginner habits that hinder growth. Students that start taking lessons after a few years of playing often take significantly longer time to unlearn habits that have led to frustration (and sometimes wanting to quit altogether), such as improper hand position, embouchure, fingerings, and breathing problems. These students should expect a period of 3-6 months to break habits and develop foundational tone and technique. At the same time, the students that start private lessons earlier find more satisfaction, motivation, confidence, and success and are less likely to quit.
A great teacher is concise and effective. If your child can learn to do multiplication well in 1 month with a teacher or in 6 months with added frustration, the choice is easy to make.