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La Scena Musicale - Vol. 21, No. 1 September 2015

Parents and Music Lessons: part I

by Ellen Kogut / September 1, 2015

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Your New Teacher

A new school year is approaching, and for many families this means the start of music lessons. Here are some recommendations for establishing a relationship with a new teacher:

1 Start by talking to other parents in your neighbourhood or at your childís school. If your childís friend works with an inspiring music teacher, your child may also have a positive experience with that individual.

2 Visit the websites of local music teachersí associations. This is an excellent way to find professionals in your area who have solid pedagogical training and experience.

3 Contact a prospective teacher and ask to arrange a lesson or two before the start of the school year. Trial lessons will give you a chance to preview a teacherís approach before making a commitment. Expect to pay for all trial lessons, regardless of whether or not you enrol long-term.

4 Go to your first lesson ready to work. Bring all relevant materials, such as your childís glasses and a notebook for recording assignments. Encourage your child to be positive and responsive, even if he or she feels shy.

5 Request to sit in on at least the first lesson with your child. Allow the teacher to work uninterrupted, and take note of the learning environment. Is there a healthy balance of encouragement and constructive criticism? Is it a good fit personality-wise? Listen to your gut when considering these questions.

6 Before you commit to a time slot with a teacher, consider the studio location. Parking, snow, and rush hour traffic may lengthen your commute during the school year.

7 Make sure you have a written copy of your teacherís studio policy. Most teachers cannot make up lessons missed by families. This is because a lesson slot is a reserved time that cannot be filled by another client in the event of a cancellation. Discuss the possibility of using any future missed lesson time for a parent/teacher phone conference, or for your teacher to make a practice recording for your child.

8 Keep communication healthy and open. If you have any questions or concerns during the school year, get in touch with your teacher so that they can be addressed as soon as possible.

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