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How To Choose The Right Teacher

Finding the right music teacher for you (or your child) is very important to your overall success and development as a musician. A great teacher will fuel your passion, help you achieve maximum improvement in the quickest amount of time, and help you avoid bad habits that can hurt your playing.

Not all teachers are the same though. It's important that you take the time to find the right teacher . When you work with the wrong teacher, some problems you will likely have are:

You will spend a lot more time than you should trying to learn and master what you want to be able to play and do.

You will spend a lot more money for lessons trying to learn something a better teacher could teach you in less time.

You will likely feel disappointed and discouraged because your improvement will be slow, but you probably won't know why.

You may begin to doubt your own potential as a player and give up the idea of reaching your musical goals.

But when you find the right teacher for you,

You will reach your musical goals much faster.
You will reach your musical goals a lot easier.
You'll feel GREAT as you go through the journey of learning your instrument!
You will save a lot of time and money-even if the better teacher charges more.

Choosing the right teacher for you is going to have a huge impact on your playing, but also on your bank account, your time, and the way you are going to feel over time.

So how do you know when you have found the right one? Here are some things you need to know about a teacher before you begin taking lessons. Ask potential teachers the following questions:

1. "Can you tell me how you teach the lessons?"
- This is probably the most important question that you can ask any teacher, yet almost no one ever asks it!

The reason for this question is that each student has different goals and learning styles. Unless a prospective teacher knows you, your musical preferences, and your musical goals, they can't adequately tell you how they will teach YOU. A good teacher needs to know these things before they formulate your lesson plan.

Listen to the language the teacher uses when trying to answer this question. Do they talk about "what they do" or do they want to know more about what YOU want and need to learn?

2. "How will you help me to better organize my practice time?"
- Good teachers will show you in detail how to manage your practice time. They will tell you what and exactly how to practice each day. Great teachers will teach you how to manage your own practice time in effective ways. How you practice is very important to your growth as a player.

If you are working with a teacher now, ask them to get specific with you about how you can learn to effectively manage your own practice time.

3. "Do you teach the styles of music I want to learn?"
- You want to make sure your teacher has experience teaching the styles you want to learn. A varied musical background is beneficial, but it doesn't matter if the teacher can teach all styles of music well (unless that is your goal). You want to know if the teacher is excellent at teaching the style or styles of music that YOU want to play.

4. "Have you successfully taught many other players to reach musical goals similar to mine?"
- Are there places where you can find several of their former and/or current students to hear what they have to say about the teacher?

Good results are not always based on the skill level of a teacher's students. Not all students want to become professional players. Many just want to play for fun but if those students feel fulfilled and happy about their experience with their teacher, you can consider this a good result.

If you find a teacher who has proven track record of successfully teaching players to reach their musical goals and/or play on a highly advanced level, you have likely found a great teacher.

Most great teachers have testimonials from their students. Search for this on their website.

Avoid These Common Mistakes!

Mistake 1. Choosing a teacher based on location!
- One of the first questions most students ask a new teacher is "Where are you located?" If you are pretty sure the teacher teaches within 90 minutes of your home or job, do not even ask the teacher where he/she is located until AFTER you are sure you want to study with him/her. You might be thinking that it's a waste of time to travel far to study with a great teacher, but the truth is, the EXACT OPPOSITE IS TRUE! The extra travel time that may be required to study with a great teacher is time well invested.

If you study with an 'average teacher' you WILL waste a lot of your practice time as you study things which are not as helpful to making you the player you want to become. In addition the better teacher will help you get more out of your practice time, (which saves even more time since you can actually get better while practicing less!) The bottom line: It's often worth traveling 3 times the distance in order to get 10X the value from a better teacher!!! See the big picture.

Mistake 2. Choosing a teacher based on price per lesson!
- An experienced teacher with the qualities mentioned in the questions above can help you progress at a much faster rate than an average one. A great teacher that can focus your lessons with proven techniques that will get you specific results and help avoid unnecessary practice will save you money in the long run.

For example, if it takes an average teacher 9 lessons at $25 a lesson to help you achieve a certain short term goal, that adds up to $225. But if a great teacher charging $50 a lesson can help you achieve that same goal in 3 lessons, that adds up to $150.

More experienced teachers are usually worth MORE than the higher price they charge for lessons! Excellent teachers are usually in demand and are often not cheap. In general, don't look for the teacher with the lowest rates, you usually get what you pay for… or LESS! If you simply can't afford to pay the higher rates for a really good teacher, ask them if you can take lessons on a bi-monthly basis instead of taking weekly lessons.

From the teacher's point of view, people who are primarily motivated by price do not make very good students. This is not always true of course, but statistically speaking, it is. The reason for this assumption is that when students are choosing a teacher based mainly on price or location, this means they are not likely to be focused on finding the right teacher who can help them reach their musical goals. Good teachers do not want to feel like they are "selling lessons" like it is a mere commodity for sale, they truly care about people and helping students to transform their lives through music.

Mistake 3. Assuming that the best player is the best teacher!
- Many students are immediately attracted to great players and want to learn from them. Just because a player can play does not mean they can explain what they do. What's important are the teacher's teaching skills and experience. This is what you should look for in a teacher.

The BIGGEST Mistake You Can Make Right Now Is…

The biggest mistake you can make right now is to do nothing with the information you've just learned! If you want to save a lot of time, money and energy, reach your musical goals much faster, and feel GREAT as you learn to play the way you always dreamed about, then invest the time right now to search for a great teacher who meets the criteria discussed in this guide.

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