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The Top 8 Qualities to Look for in a Great Music Teacher

Nov. 29, 2019
The Top 8 Qualities to Look for in a Great Music Teacher
It takes a lot to be a great teacher, and while you’ll find many great musicians out there, those great musicians don’t always make great music teachers. If you’re ready to start taking music lessons, then you need to take your time and find a teacher who is skilled as a musician, skilled as a teacher, and a good fit for you, too.


Founder & CEO | Sage Music

When you’re searching for a music school or searching for a music teacher, do you know how to tell a great teacher apart from one who’s not so great? Your music teacher can have a direct influence on how much you enjoy music, how much you get out of lessons, and even the success that you enjoy with music. It’s so important that you choose a great music teacher, and these tips can help.

The 8 Qualities Every Great Music Teacher Should Have

It takes a lot to be a great teacher, and while you’ll find many great musicians out there, those great musicians don’t always make great music teachers. If you’re ready to start taking music lessons, then you need to take your time and find a teacher who is skilled as a musician, skilled as a teacher, and a good fit for you, too. Here are eight qualities to look for in any teacher that you’re considering.

Creative Explanations

Have you ever been in a lesson where the teacher was trying to explain something to you, but you just couldn’t quite grasp what they were telling you? It’s a common occurrence in music lessons, since everyone learns differently.

A great teacher will be able to come up with different, creative ways to explain a concept to you. Whether you’re working on perfecting your embouchure or understanding how to adjust your pitch, a talented teacher will teach in different ways until you grasp the concept. As your teacher discovers the ways that you learn best, you can also learn about your own habits and tendencies so that you can make your practice time more productive.

Close Up of Harp Sage Music

Problem Spotting – and Solving

During your lesson, your teacher should actively listen to your playing and spot problems as they’re occurring. Then, they’ll have solutions to help you solve those problems that you do encounter.

It’s important that your teacher knows how to identify the most important problems to tackle, and that they don’t let those problems continue for too long. If we play something incorrectly and we play it that way repeatedly, that mistake can become hard to break. Your teacher can help you to make your practicing more effective by catching issues early on, and can save you a lot of time and effort in breaking bad habits.

Making Lessons Fun

Learning music is hard work, but lessons shouldn’t be a miserable experience, either. A talented teacher will understand how to make music lessons fun and enjoyable, even with the hard work. The more you enjoy your lessons, the more motivated you’ll be to prepare for them and to do well.

Fun can come in many forms. Your teacher might make lessons fun with their personality and enthusiastic approach to music, alone. If you’ve been wanting to learn a favorite piece, working on that piece can get you excited about going to lessons. And, playing duets with your teacher can also be a great way to change things up.

In addition to making lessons, themselves, fun, your teacher should have ways to help you connect with other musicians for additional opportunities. Playing in ensembles is a valuable part of developing your skills as a musician, and the change of setting and new music that you’ll learn can make for a fun experience.

Close Up Piano

A Positive Attitude

A teacher’s attitude can have a huge influence on how well you learn and how much you enjoy your music school. Look for a teacher with a positive attitude who can help you when you’re frustrated and who can reassure you when you doubt yourself. Your teacher should be positive and encouraging, and able to balance out critiques by identifying the things that you’re doing well.

That positive attitude is important in keeping you feeling good about your skills, too. Learning music is hard, and there will be times where you’ll feel frustrated. A teacher who remains positive can help to encourage and motivate you during these times. A great teacher will also be able to find ways to help you through these times by providing additional tips and suggestions to help you develop the skills that you’re working on.

Use of Targets and Assignments

Look for a music teacher who knows how to structure your music lessons and your learning with goals, targets, and assignments. You should leave each lesson with specific assignments to work on during your practice sessions. The use of a music lesson journal or other recordkeeping method will help to keep you organized while also tracking your progress.

If you find yourself arriving home and wondering just what you should be focusing on, then you’ll need to have a conversation with your teacher to set up a better recordkeeping system. Your teacher should also be able to help you learn how to practice, and should have some ideas to help you retain the information you learn in lessons so you can apply it at home. You might find success by recording your lessons so you can listen to them after, or your teacher might encourage you to take more notes in your journal during a lesson.

Playing Guitar

Choice of Appropriate Pieces

When it comes to choosing your repertoire pieces, a great music teacher will know how to select pieces that challenge you without completely overwhelming you. The same is true of etudes and studies. If a piece is too challenging for your skill level, it will only frustrate you and can even affect your confidence. But the right piece will help you to develop your skills while also becoming more confident in your abilities.

If you’re playing in music ensembles or have goals of auditioning for a group, make sure that you find a teacher who is willing to help you progress toward these goals, too. If you’re struggling with a piece of music you’re learning outside of your lessons, a great teacher will be able to help you develop the techniques and knowledge you need to be able to play that piece.

Organizational Skills

When you attend a music school, you’re paying for lessons that take place within a certain time slot. An organized teacher can make the most of that time, moving efficiently from one activity to the next. A great music teacher is well-organized, conscientious of the time, and knows how to stay productive during the entire duration of each music lesson.

But organization goes both ways. You’ll need to be well-organized, too, and should arrive to your music lessons early so that you’re ready to start promptly on time. This isn’t just an important lesson to learn as a music student, but it will serve you well in your professional life as a musician or in any other career.

A Love of Music

Above all else, a great teacher should have a genuine love of music, and of teaching. This love of teaching music will help to drive a teacher to do their best to help you enjoy music as they do. When your teacher is dedicated and enthusiastic, they’ll go the extra mile for you and put extra effort into your education.

At the same time, a teacher who truly loves music can help you learn to love music, too. They can help you explore new genres and opportunities and better understand what’s going on in the song that you love to make you love it so much. The right music teacher can inspire and support you as a student.

Why Sage Music Teachers are the Best Around

At Sage Music School, we pride ourselves on offering music lessons taught by highly trained teachers. Not only do we hire music teachers who have some of the best training from accredited universities, but we also invest in our teachers.

Once hired by Sage Music, our teachers are mentored and trained so that they can be come better teachers. Teachers learn about how the mind, body, and spirit work in music, and we teach them about how musicians learn best, so they can deliver the best lesson experience possible. Our teachers also learn how to apply our unique Arpeggio lesson system so that you’ll get quality, consistent lessons during your entire time with Sage Music.

Unlike other schools, we don’t view hiring as the last part of the process when bringing new music teachers on. We continuously invest in our teachers with support and mentoring. As a result, we’ve created a body of teachers who are uniquely qualified to help you achieve your very best as a musician. We’ve worked hard to find teachers who can meet our high standards and who are just as passionate about providing a quality music education as we are. The result is an amazing roster of musicians who can teach you on a variety of musical instruments.

But don’t take our word for it. Contact us today to learn more and to set up your first music lesson, and come experience a Sage Music education for yourself.

Looking for a great music teacher? Try Sage Music Lessons.
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