What to look for in a good teacher

September 30, 2016 at 08:15 PM · Finding a good instructor is not as easy as one might think. Just because someone might have degrees in music and or is able to play reasonably well doesn't make them a good teacher.

I recommend calling several teachers and asking them a series of questions. Ask what their teaching philosophy is, ask if they have a set way of teaching and do they start all their beginner students the same way and have them all follow the same structured lesson plans.

Ask if they have ALL their students holding their instruments and bows the same way and are the students allowed variations.

If their answers give you the impression they teach everyone in the exact same manner using the exact same materials think twice before hiring them as your instructor. That is call the "cookie cutter approach to teaching". They treat every student the same regardless of their musical abilities, physical differences, learning abilities and musical desires. You become a robot!

I design the lesson for the individual student. I ask my students questions, I get to know them, what they like, dislike and incorporate what I've learned into the lessons. Every lesson I ask the student how they feel, if there is any discomfort and if so where. These issues need and must be addressed immediately! I have the student hold the instrument based on their body types and abilities at that time in their progress. There are some basic principles to holding a bow and instrument but many variations with-in those principles. As long as you are not in pain, your arms, shoulders are relaxed, hands and fingers are loose not tight or stiff you are doing fine. Remember, the placement of the instrument is going to change as you grow as a player. There is no ONE way to hold a string instrument or a bow. Throughout your career whether amateur or professoinal you will change your bow grip and the positioning of your instrument several times in your playing career.

So, if you have or have found a teacher that teaches everyone the exact same way and doesn't design the lesson for the individual student think twice. Find an instructor who is willing to take the time to learn about you, your physical differences, learning abikities and likes and dislikes in music. You will enjoy your instrument much more and get more out of your lessons.

Happy studying!

Robert Sorel

Replies (5)

September 30, 2016 at 08:28 PM · Did you mean to write a blog post, rather than a forum post?

September 30, 2016 at 08:46 PM · Lydia, His distressed words called for help. Please, do not disturb him that way.... :(

Dear Robert,

I understand Your problem, or situation. I was once in a similar position, but came out of it ok. It is like that.


I think you are over your learning period from another teacher, and You should be your own teacher ;-) god luck, best: krisztian

September 30, 2016 at 08:47 PM · um....OK?

September 30, 2016 at 08:48 PM · out of zoom video windows in the news also freak me out too :(((((

September 30, 2016 at 08:48 PM · yes, ok, thanks :)

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