Shopping For A Music Teacher – Suggested Questions

When you shop for a music teacher, a local private-lesson teacher, ask lots of questions.   Here are three types of questions – Policy Questions, Heart-Of-The-Matter Questions, and Any Other Questions….

1. Policy Questions – important but not the heart of the matter

A first question is often, “What are your rates?”

Like any school, private teachers usually have policies about the main areas of interactions between student, teacher, and parent. Policies are designed to make the whole experience of learning EASY and SMOOTH for all three members of the triangle: Student, Teacher, Parent.

It always works best to discuss these policies in our first meeting, at the studio.

However, I have noticed that most private-lesson-music teachers do post their policies online. Lakewood Piano Lab policies can be viewed at

You have to choose a teacher whose rates match your budget of course. 

But policies are just lists of rules. They are good, effective rules, but they are just words on paper.  

The main, central HEART of the Lesson Experience does not come from “policies”.  The convenience factor, and cost of any given teacher should be secondary to The Real Heart-Of-The-Matter….

2. Heart-of-the-Matter Questions

The real center of the Lesson Experience has more to do with the following questions.  These are the questions you should ask when shopping for a private-lesson-music-teacher!

[ ] What is the teacher’s reputation?

[ ] What do other parents/students say about the teacher?

[ ] Is the teacher established in the neighborhood?

[ ] Does the teacher teach individualized, student-specific lessons?

[ ] What are the teacher’s hopes and goals for the student?

[ ] Does the teacher offer an initial visit so you can meet and talk?

[ ] What is the teacher’s committment? What does the teacher say that he/she teaches?

[ ] Lining Up Goals: What are YOUR (parent) goals for the first year of lessons?

[ ] How does the teacher help with getting a good instrument, practicing, annual recitals

[ ] Teacher Background/Qualifications: Education, Experience, Live Performance, Recordings

[ ] Use of Technology in Teaching

3. Any Other Questions

ANY other questions you might have, you should ask!  For example,

> Can you put me in touch with other families who take from you?

> What about summer?   > What about theory?   > What about group lessons?

> What about missed lessons?  Schedule conflicts?  

> How much do we have to practice? > Do you have a waiting room?

> Can parents sit in on lessons?

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