|How to find the best piano teacher possible in Montreal Quebec|
Parental Resources: How to find the best music teacher (piano, violin, guitar, singing) possible in Montreal, Quebec for piano lessons for your child?
For parents, the process of finding the best music teacher for your child to start piano, violin, guitar lessons can be a hit-or-miss process. This is particularly difficult for parents who do have any musical background. The normal process in search of the best music teacher will be to look for music schools in the neighborhood on the internet, by word of mouth. Without pre-requisite knowledge about music, it is difficult for parents to gauge aspects such as competence, or intangibles such as dedication, experience, or compatibility between teacher and student.
As a result, most parents make their decisions for choice of a music teacher or music school primarily based on convenience factors, such as proximity to home, or low tuition rates. Ultimately, this can be a subjective decision and it can also be a "hit and miss" process.
Below are 10 useful tips that can be useful for parents (particularly parents without any musical background) in their process of looking for the best music teacher for their child.
Whether your child plans to learn piano, guitar, violin, voice - it all boils down to receiving effective and efficient instruction, so that your child can progress and find pleasure in achieving his/her musical goals.
(1) Is the music teacher experienced in teaching? How many years of experience does the teacher have?
Every teacher will start up somewhere, and along the way develop experience. Younger teachers have the motivation and drive to teach, yet in the process they are acquiring experience. Music teachers who have been in the profession for more than a decade knows the inner workings of the process - from teaching the basics to preparing students for exams, performances, competitions - have also acquired the experience in helping students cope with difficulties in their learning process.
Also, with more experienced teachers, they have a track record to show. You can see the accomplishments of students from the teacher's studio, and be able to evaluate the quality of teaching through the performance of the students.
However, we need to also understand that teaching experienced beyong a certain number of years will start to make little difference, or even reach a point of diminishing return. Teachers who have taught for many decades might have slowed down or lost the enthusiasm in grooming young students or beginners. So ultimately, it is important to meet with the teacher, and gauge the level of compatibility in personality, teaching and learning goals, and expectations.
(2) Gauging the credentials of the teacher. How well does the teacher play? Have you heard the teacher perform?
Good performers do not automatically make good teachers as they may not understand the difficulties or challenges that a student faces, and teaching is an art form in itself. However, good teachers definitely need to have good musicianship and performance abilities.
As a superior musical performer, the teacher can inspire the student through demonstration and live performances. The teacher being in practice and able to play well also sets an example of the importance of consistent practice and maintaining in top performance shape.
(3) How well do the teacher's students perform?
Teachers may have credentials (ranging from performance certificates, degrees, music teachers association membership) on their walls. But ultimately the proof is in the pudding. Just see how well their students play - this speaks volumes about the effectiveness of the teaching, and also how the teacher is able to work with the student and parent as a team to achieve outstanding results.
Ask yourself this simple question: Would you want you child to play like this teacher's students?
(4) Personality compatibility - Music is an art. Art is expression from the heart. To teach music is to teach art - and it involves sharing the passion of making music from within. Is the teaching encouraging? Does he/she motivate the student to love music and instill a desire to practice? What is the approach taken?
Questions such as: what method series a teacher uses, or whoat examination system the teacher enrols students for are less of a concern. Ultimately, the teacher is the interface of the student to the musical world. The method, approach, system is only as good as how the teacher delivers it.
Learning music is an experience, and the teacher provides the human element to the world of musical learning that goes beyond methodologies and examination systems.
A good music teacher not only needs to be empathetic to the student, but also instills a positive attitude, a solid sense of purpose and discipline, while encouraging the student to explore and enjoy music.
(5) Knowledge in psychology and education - teaching is an art, an interactive art form and human communication. A good teacher has a good understanding of the psychology of learning. What inspires a student? What approaches increases efficiency? How to balance the level of difficulty with the ability of the student. An understanding of issues such as attentional span, memory, performance anxiety will be an asset - as problems related to musical performance can be prevented.
These are all aspects that are crucial in being able to bring the best out from a music student.
(6) Does the teacher encourage the student to explore different genres of music? Most teachers begin students with method books, and after a while transition their students to basic standard repertoire (such as Little Preludes by Bach, or Classical Sonatinas by Kuhlau, Clementi etc). Some teachers encourage diversity and help students learn music they truly enjoy, including popular music. How well is such a balance established? This needs to be discussed with the teacher in relation to the students goals for music study.
(7) Is the teacher still active in the musical community?
Piano teaching can be a very lonely task, where the teacher is captive to the studio for the entire day teaching over 40 students a week. In this case, the teacher may start to lose touch with the musical world, and teaching becomes routine. To ensure that teaching remains fresh in the mind of the teacher (which is beneficial for the student), it is important for parents to check if the teacher is active in the musical community, and is current with the current development of of pedagogy.
Make sure that the teacher is still active in the musical community - performing, giving talks, attending teacher's conferences and continuing to develop professionally. For instance, there are professional development workshops organized by the Royal Conservatory of Music (occuring nation wide), the MTNA (in the US) ad pedagogy workshops of major universities. These are good forums for teachers to recharge their musical batteries.
As parents, we certainly want to ensure that our children study with teachers who have a strong level of professional enthusiasm, and that contents delivered are current.
(8) Does the teacher work together with the parent as a team to help the child?
It takes a whoe village to raise a child. The same applies in musical learning. A good music teacher will keep the parents updated with progress at the end of every lesson, and discuss with parents how they can assist the child at home with practice. Some exceptional teachers also encourage parents to attend the lesson, and share with parents what specific they have to do at home to ensure that the child practices properly. Some even go to the extent of requiring parents to bring in video cameras to record the lesson. This is actually very beneficial - as the child can recap the contents of the lessons at home. This is equivalent to bringing the teacher home to remind you of your practice.
(9) How well is the music studio / piano studio equipped?
There are certain basic tools necessary in the music teaching studio. A good musical instrument (piano) is an absolute essential. However, in modern pedagogy, teaching tools go beyond a piano and a white board.
Two pianos are better than one - since this allows the student to learn to play in duo with the teacher. Grand pianos are also better than upright pianos, as in most competitions, festivals and music examinations that students need to perform on grand pianos. It becomes necessary for students to become acquainted with the touch and feel of the concert grand piano.
Some studios are equipped with two grand pianos (to allow students to practice concertos with their teachers), and may also have an electric piano (third piano) so as to encourage students to become fully adaptable. Nowadays, many elementary schools and high school no longer use the acoustic instrument. They only provide the electric piano for student performances in these venues - so it becomes necessary for students to adapt and become more versatile if the teacher's studio is equipped with an array of instruments.
As a parent, we should also take note if the teacher has an extensive music library of music scores for students to explore different genres of repertoire? With regard to learning about performance, is the studio equiped with necessary electronic equipment such as computers or iPads for Youtube viewing (for comparative video analysis), learning music theory. Is the studio equiped with video recording capabilities? If one registers for a music school, does it have a concert hall for regular practice, rehearsals, practice performances and concerts?
Ultimately the decision is based on human contact, personality compatibility, and a level of confidence that the parent feels upon meeting with the teacher.
(10) Possibility of Trial lessons to evaluate mutual compatibility
However, before making a long term commitment, it would be helpful to structure a series of trial lessons to ensure full compatibility between teacher, student and parent - as these three parties need to work as one team to maximize effectiveness and efficiency. Consider arranging a series of trial lessons (2 to 4 should be adequate) for parents to have a clear idea if it is working out.
Investing in your child's musical education goes beyond paying the tuition and bringing the child for lessons. It is a journey, a process of co-discovery, working together - facing successes and occasional failures, and standing up again in case if things don't come our way. It is a process of learning to be disciplined, introspective, develop self awareness, and to share - sharing the love of music through the creative act of performance.
Music is a universal language that transcends all barriers. Learning music provides the child the gift of artistic expression that is universal.
Best of luck to your search for the best piano teacher for your child.
Should you need further information or assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us at
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Written by: Dr. Angela Chan, Ph.D., Director of Lambda School of Music and Fine Arts