The good news is music is suitable for everyone to learn and everyone is suited to learning music.
It is a mistake to give up music before you have really started simply because you believe you or your child may not be any good at it.
What you may or may not realise is that you might not be getting what you need from your teacher and if you are struggling, finding a teacher who is suitable for you will make learning music or singing a totally different experience.
Just remember there is more than one method of teaching music and more than one way to learn music.
Are You And Your Teacher A Good Match
We all have different needs, different ways of learning and different personalities.
This means that every one of us has to find the right match in each of these areas if our learning experience is going to be successful.
Before you look for a teacher you may like to ask yourself:
1. What do I want from my lessons?
- Do you want them to be fun or serious (or a balance of both)?
- What are your goals? Do you want to take exams, perform, be able to join a band or write your own music?
- How often do you want to take lessons, how long do you want them to be?
- How much are you prepared to pay? (And remember, it is usually a case of you get what you pay for).
- Do you want to do lessons online, for example, on skype or do you want to do them in person?
- What do you want to learn? What instrument, How to read music, how to improvise, how to write, how to interpret chords?
Try to visualise what your lessons would look like and how you want to feel after them.
Ask yourself the above questions and more if you like.
The clearer you are on what you want, the more likely you are to attract the right teacher into your life.
2. How do I learn best?
This is a big question and you may not know how to answer it.
Consider these options:
- Do you learn best in a relaxed environment or under pressure?
- Which of your senses do you favour in learning? Do you remember something better when you hear it, do it or read it?
- Do you like to experience something first, then break it down later or do you like to spend time reflecting on something before you try it?
If you take a moment to think about your best learning experiences and how they occurred you will be able to work out what type of learner you are.
Here is a fantastic website where you can take a quiz, find out how you learn and what kind of teaching methods suit you. I highly recommend it!
And for teachers, getting your students to do this quiz can inform you which methods of teaching you can employ to get the best results.
3. What do I want my teacher to be like?
Be honest with yourself.
You may be the type of person that responds to a strict environment where the teacher pushes you and gives you grief if you don’t live up to their expectations.
Or you may be a person who needs space and time and gentle encouragement and not to be harshly dealt with if you haven’t managed to practice.
You may need your teacher to be more of a mentor and give you emotional support in your learning or you may need a teacher who strongly directs your learning and tells you what to do.
Try to picture what your ideal teacher would be like and try to get to know exactly how you would like them to teach you.
Once you have considered the above points, you should have a clearer idea of what you are looking for.
Just by knowing what you want and what you are looking for, a little magic happens. Life tends to bring you what you imagine. So just trust in that but also ask people if they can recommend any teachers or put an add in the local paper or explore the internet.
When you go for your first lesson, you can give the teacher a clear indication of what you are looking for and they will be able to tell you if they can deliver or not.
Also, it’s very, very important just to trust your gut instinct.
- Do you like the teacher?
- Did they make you feel comfortable?
- Are confident in their ability to teach? (don’t confuse this with their ability to play, some teachers aren’t the best players but they are great teachers and vice versa).
- Were they professional in their approach?
- Did the lesson seem worth the money you paid?
- Did you learn anything?
If the answer to all the above questions is “yes”, I think you have found the right teacher for you. If your answer is “no” to even one of these questions, it may be a good idea to try someone else.
Remember, you may not always get on with your teacher, you may sometimes clash and that’s all part of the learning process. If this happens you should be able to be honest and talk about these feelings with your teacher and you should be able to resolve them.
Building an relationship with your music teacher can really add to your quality of life and will support your learning for a number of years.
It’s well-worth taking time over choosing who will teach you and trusting your feelings if you are not happy with your teacher and finding someone else.
After all, giving up on music can be a great loss, especially when it makes you a better person!