A musician never reveals his secrets! Just kidding. Mag-icians may have tricks up their sleeves, but mus-icians are open books of etudes, scales, and heartstring-plucking sonatas. And the most open musicians are private instructors. Honestly, every music student needs a tutor, but the question is where to find one. The journey can be difficult, but the right private instructor will be worth the search.
Where should I look?
Maybe the go-to of the music world would be friends and family who have had firsthand experience with instructors already and can give readymade reviews for you to weigh. In my personal experience, finding instructors through friends and family was the easiest and most helpful way to find the teacher I needed at the time.
However, if there are no experienced family members or friends in the vicinity, search the internet. Facebook and other social media platforms are eager to help you find what you’re looking for. You can also Google local private teachers to find specific websites of teachers near you. More specifically than Google, find a private teacher search engine like takelessons.com that can pull up multiple teachers at the same time on a single website for you to compare.
Perhaps searching the web for someone to meet in person is not your forte. That’s all right. Your app store is sure to have mediums and teachers both fit for you. Check out Trala, Yousician, or Brass & Woodwind Lessons for instructors and other resources.
If all else fails, there’s always local, hands-on options. For example, if you have a college nearby, you can call to ask for an introductory lesson from a campus professor. Alternatively, find local recitals and concerts from bulletin board advertisements or Google, and attend with the intent to find out what the students are learning and whom they are learning from. You can also go to a local music shop and ask about teachers at the cash register.
What should I look for?
Money is the name of the game. Price will often be determined by the quality of the instructor and the duration of the lesson. Budget ahead of time to know what instructors you can afford. Be sure to ask about any additional fees–books, group lessons, late fees, missed lesson fees, etc.
Credentials might be a different good place to start. Make sure the instructor knows more than just where C is on the piano.
All joking aside, make sure the instructor has reached at least a level above where you want to be able to play. A bachelor’s degree would be commendable. A master’s and a PhD would likely increase the price you’d have to pay but probably also the quality and maybe even difficulty of the education.
If you find your teacher online, check the reviews on them. Look for qualities you want in an instructor (i.e., friendly, challenging, praising, flexible, etc.). People will be very happy to tell you exactly what they believe the teacher is worth.
Figure out whether you can coordinate schedules or get on a waiting list as soon as possible. Instruction will be affected a lot by the availability of the instructor as well as the availability of the student.
Some instructors may even be willing to negotiate an unusual time. If the circumstances are right, they may even be willing to come to your house; just know that that option will affect the price. Admittedly, being able to have lessons in your house with an online instructor is convenient, if you choose to go that route.
Above all, ask lots of questions. Does the instructor specialize at your level? What student age does the instructor start accepting at? Does the instructor provide free introductory lessons? Gather a list to take to the instructors for when you first meet them.
Concerns and Rarities
You may be wondering about several aspects of finding a great private teacher that haven’t been mentioned yet. What if my instrument is rare? What if I can’t afford lessons? What if none of the teachers fit what I’m looking for? What if I don’t want to practice? What if I don’t like classical music and just want to play for fun?
All of these are absolutely valid questions. Maybe finding an instructor just isn’t the right direction to go. A fantastic alternative to that (and a fantastic addition to anyone with a private instructor) would be to sign up for personalized feedback from Musicians Gradebook.
The journey through all the private teacher options could be difficult, but the prize of finding the right fit will be a worthy one. Finding the right teacher for the student is as important as finding the right magician for a magic trick. And now, all the secrets of finding a great private instructor are out. Best of luck to you.
Give your best performance yet! Musicians Gradebook connects student musicians with professional feedback. Send us a recording on your timetable and receive detailed notes from an expert within 24 hours. Get started here.