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Necessary Attributes of a Good Music Teacher

Group kids with teacher

Finding a good music teacher is the key to your child mastering their instrument of choice and while there are many great music centers here in Bangkok, what should you specifically look out for when trying to find a good teacher?

There are several factors to take into consideration. Good teachers as well as possessing the qualities of technical and musical competence, excellent communication skills, significant teaching experience, above all must make their lessons fun. As well as serious amounts of patience and empathy with a student’s situation which inspires and instills in his or her protégés a fervent enthusiastic desire to learn and reach their fullest potential.

It is advisable to choose an instrumental teacher, who has several years of teaching experience under their belt – not one who is “learning on the job!” However, a good music teacher doesn’t necessarily have to have miles of music qualifications and certificates from internationally recognized music colleges, it’s more about their natural given talent and ability to teach a particular instrument and how good the fit is with your child.

After years of agonising lessons with a highly qualified piano teacher from a reputable music conservatoire, by the age of 13 I decided playing the piano was a pain and I never progressed, in fact I had an aversion to playing at all! Years later I met an instructor who had no technical training but instilled in me a love of learning to play the piano for fun, I learnt more in those 2 years than in 10 years of super expensive lessons, much to the annoyance of my parents. There’s a lesson for all parents in here somewhere! 

Piano playing

Lots of Flexibility

A good teacher has an open mind and is not stuck in their ways – married to one particular methodology – but is constantly honing their art; reviewing, reappraising, recalibrating; and incorporating any new ideas and material, which where appropriate will reflect in their student’s particular skills.

Every student is an individual. The best teachers recognize this; and will customize their approach to suit the specific needs of their protégés.

An Understanding that Music Should be Fun!

A successful student/teacher relationship hinges upon mutual respect, and an instilled desire on the part of the student to emulate the skills of their mentor but as above, there has to be a good basic relationship and a teacher who can apply a sense of fun into their lessons is key, especially with young children.

Good teachers are always open minded, and willing to encompass their student’s areas of interest by customizing their teaching material to include these preferences in the overall teaching curriculum. There is no point in forcing a child to play Mozart when their fingers want to play the latest tunes from their favourite bands. Once they have mastered the skills there is plenty of time to learn the classics and hone their skills to perfection. That is why choosing a teacher that suits your child’s unique personality is so important. Some students are suited to a firmer more serious teacher as they may already have a love for classical music, whilst others need more encouragement by first learning to play more popular music, it’s a very personal and individual choice.

Kids playing music

A Proven Track-record

Be sure to choose a teacher with a proven track record stretching back several years and who currently continues to deliver student success. Look for good word-of-mouth testimonials from other parents, kids themselves and respected professionals. If your child wishes to take external exams ensure the learning centre or teacher is recognised by the assessment providers – e.g., ABRSM etc., It is recommended to choose a committed specialist teacher, for whom teaching is their prime vocation and occupation, although many general music teachers will often tutor a specific instrument as an additional “string to their bow!”

Whilst the more experienced and established professionals will have their own studios, and charge professional rates that reflect this, it doesn’t mean that your child will not learn from a tutor who makes home visits. Again it’s a personal choice based on both your budget and the outcomes you expect.

Open Management Approach

One of the failings of many Teacher/Parent/Student relationships here in Thailand is that unfortunately, they often do not really exist!

It is essential, that parents are kept “in the loop” at all times as this ensures they know exactly what transpires in the lessons and this can enable them to complement the teacher’s work by practise and encouragement to their children at home.

Effective Communication

A good teacher possesses the ability to successfully communicate and inspire in a friendly and competent manner. Look for a teacher who loves their art, for whom nothing is too much trouble, who is always approachable, and one who puts students at ease ensuring absolute comprehension and enjoyment at all times.

An Inspiration to Students

An inspiring music teacher possesses the ability to do just that – to inspire kids to want to play and to enjoy mastering their instrument. If kids see their mentor emanating an infectious love and enthusiasm for their art, this will reflect in their own abilities and will inspire them to reach their full potential and attempt to emulate their teacher’s skills to the very best of their ability – even if it is only at an enjoyable amateur level.

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