Questions to Ask a Prospective Instructor

Use these questions as a guide to have a conversation with a prospective private music teacher for your child. There are no right or wrong answers, but the answers you get will help you understand the teacher’s philosophy, teaching style and expectations.

Finding a compatible teacher (especially for a beginner) is key to musical success, right from the start. Consider your expectations as a parent/guardian, and talk with your child about his/her expectations as well.

  • At what age should you start a child on a string instrument? Why that age? (in your opinion)

  • What are the ingredients for a successful student?

  • What are the ingredients that make a successful teacher?

  • Can/Could/Should all kids play the violin (or instrument of your choice)?

  • How much/often should students practice?

  • How important is listening to live and recorded music?

  • What opportunities are out there for adults who want to learn an instrument?

  • How important is group/ensemble playing?

  • Does taking piano lessons before starting a string or wind instrument help? Hurt? Why?

  • How important is performance/recital playing for a beginner?

  • What about Suzuki and other methods? Recommendations of what works for you as a teacher?

  • What is the difference between a great player and a great teacher?