There are many benefits to teaching your child music at a young age. From mathematical understanding to a deeper foundation in music theory, music has a lot to give even at the basic levels. When your child understands music early, they will have a stronger logical grasp and a way to express themselves emotionally without a tantrum. But how do you know which music teacher is the right fit? Naturally, with every prospect, you’re hoping for Mary Poppins but it’s usually not that obvious. The ideal music teacher for a young child is compassionate, patient, and communicative with both you and the child, but they also need to have a real understanding of their art and a precise teaching method to give your child the complete benefit of musical exposure. When seeking a music teacher, know what you want and don’t be shy to ask direct questions. The right teacher will understand and be happy to answer.
Hold an Interview
Never choose a teacher for your young child sight-unseen. They will be spending hours a week in your home teaching your child, and you need a solid rapport for this to work well. No matter what else you’re looking for, you need to be able to talk to the music teacher and the best way to get a good read is to ask them about music. Most musicians will open up on this topic, and a good teacher will be passionate about their craft, but not intense or crazy. Don’t be afraid to get personal. Tell them about how your family works and what you’re looking for from the lessons and watch their response. Assuring you they can handle it is normal but what you’re looking for is understanding, empathy, and a willingness to collaborate with you to make the most of each lesson. On top of the temperament assessment, during this interview, ask the potential teacher any other questions you need answers to, like what instruments they teach, when they’re available during the day, and so on. At the end of the interview, thank them politely for their time, even if the meeting will close with a no-thank-you.
Assess Knowledge, Skills, and Method
There are a lot of musicians who offer lessons, but not all of them are reliable or natural teachers. At some point in the opening negotiations, whether in your first interview or during later communications, you will need to determine how deeply they really understand the music theory they’ll be teaching and the methods they intend to use. Look for a teacher who uses the standard books and methods but is open to flexibility and experimentation. Teachers who communicate well in both musical and social terms should also rank highly on your list.
Host an In-Home Audition
When you find a potential teacher you really like, invite them to your home for a scheduled test lesson. This will be your chance to review their curriculum and see them in action with your child. Ask them about their instrument, their teaching method, and the musical basis behind their lesson plans. Finally, allow them to sit down with your child for a starter lesson. It’s important for this stage that you stay a little hands-off in order to see how a normal lesson would go. During this round, your child will probably spend the majority of the time getting used to their new instrument, learning how to hold it, and may start on how to make noise with it before the end of the lesson. If the content of the lesson is reasonable, focus on the interaction between teacher and child. Listen to how the teacher explains themselves and the new methods to your child. A gentle, patient explanation is one of the best signs of a good teacher.
If everything has gone well, your child will soon be reaping the rewards of an early musical foundation and your house will soon be filled with the joyful plinking, hooting, or scraping sounds of any beginner musician’s career. Be encouraging and help your child to practice between lessons. This is as much a chance for you to bond with your child as it is for them to learn something new.