Monday, April 9, 2012

7 things to consider when looking for a music teacher...

Researchers have confirmed what piano teachers and moms have known all along, that music lessons really do make kids smarter!

Dr. Frances Rauscher from the University of California at Irvine is recognized for work correlating music - specifically piano instruction - and intelligence. His study, which is focused on the importance of music in the early developmental stages of childhood, has been widely recognized as ground breaking, attracting much media attention. His findings have stated that music lessons are far superior to computer instruction in developing the abstract reasoning skills needed for math and science.

Children who received piano/keyboard instruction performed 34% higher on tests measuring spatial-temporal ability than others.

But when looking for a music teacher, what things should you consider?

Here are 7 qualifications to add to your list that you may not have thought of.

1. Does the teacher have an infectious love of music that can be transferred to the heart of your child?

We all know that becoming an accomplished musician requires time, commitment and practice. But, why commit to something over a long period of time that you do not enjoy?

All small children love music. Look for a teacher who can cultivate and grow this love over the long haul. There will be seasons of commitment and hard work, but that should be balanced by seasons of passion and joy.

2. Look for a teacher who encourages music to be a family affair.

Few of us like to be isolated and sent off alone, especially young children! Any teacher who says a young child should be sent to the piano alone for 30 minutes a day, doesn't have enough early childhood training to warrant your time and money.

Music lessons can be enjoyed by and benefit the entire family! Look for a teacher who understands the needs of younger children. Discuss with them ways to make practice more like play than punishment.

Music does require discipline, but small amounts over a consistent period of time = fulfilling progress without tear!

3. Open Door Policy - If music is to be a family affair, it goes without saying that parents should have access to their child and teacher - during the lesson. You MAY not know a lot about music, but you can tell if teaching and learning are happening.

4. Does your child like the teacher?

I believe children innately like to be around adults who love well. Make sure your child "clicks" with his or her teacher. They should enjoy one another. Your child should feel encouraged and challenged, not condemned or afraid.

5. Patience is a virtue.

All teachers need patience and piano teachers are no exception. Find someone with the patience to give your child a good foundation. Rushing isn't good. In music, the muscle memory alone required to master a level requires much repetition.

6. Process not performance...

Music lessons are naturally "performance" oriented - sit this way, hold your hands that way, read the music like this, etc.

Young children grow weary of this. Find someone who can take these performance concepts and disguise them within the process and joy of learning something new. Everything doesn't have to be perfect all the time. We learn music because we love music!

7. A music teacher is ultimately there to assist YOU, the parent, in drawing out the gifts, talents, and interest that reside within your child. A good teacher will be attentive to the goals of your family and will attempt to tailor a program that meets the needs of your child and your family!


Shanna Ramsdell

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