Irregular lessons with a good teacher or find someone else
I have a teacher that I've been with for a few years and that I really like. The one problem is that this teacher is not as available as I would like. I would like to have regular lessons once a week. If it can't be done one week or the other then fine, but this teacher takes a lot of time off, like pretty much the whole summer and even in non-summer time it is rare when I have 4 lessons in a month. From what I can tell teaching is not their main source of income and they don't mind if they don't teach at all for a month or two.
I've been trying to step up my practice and work harder, but it is hard, specially as a beginner, to spend weeks without having anyone who to ask questions to or to point you in the right direction if you are going the wrong way. Frequently I don't even know when my next lessons is going to be (whether next week or in a month).
I've started to think that it might be time for me to move on and find someone else, but then I think:
- I really like this teacher and it might be hard to find someone else with a similar method and that I get along with and feel comfortable.
- Should I just suck it up and take whatever time they can give me?
- Should I find someone else as a backup and then maybe keep both teachers at the same time? Is that doable?
- How do I tell my current teacher if I want to move on? I think we have a good relationship and I don't want to hurt any feelings.
Has anybody been in a similar situation? I imagine getting lessons from someone that is a very active performer and goes on tour or travels a lot for gigs is probably similar.
I have raised the issue with my teacher about me wanting more lessons or at least lessons on a more regular schedule (every 2 weeks) and from the replies I get I can tell you I'm very confident what I'm telling you is accurate. They don't need the money and choose to work less to have time to do other things (family, travel, hobbies, etc). It is a valid life choice and I would probably do the same if I could afford to do it.
Does this teacher have an assistant? Many teachers with this kind of schedule do.
I was in a similar situation. My teacher was about to move away. I found a new one. My former teacher is once in a while in my area and can give lessons. Now I feel very privileged to have a regular teacher and sometimes an extra lesson. Everybody knows about eachother and is fine with it. I have quite some business traveling and my regular teacher has performances. Therefore not each and every regular lesson works out.
I see no harm if the OP gets a trial lesson or two from other teachers in her area. Two teachers at once does not really work though.
Are you still growing and are you happy with your progress?
While a weekend or summer worshop with a very different teacher can be very stimulating, but for a regular alternation, you need a similar approach,. May be one of his or her more advanced students?
Sarah, as a beginner, regular lessons will be most beneficial. I think the best thing is to address your concern directly to your teacher and ask if he/she can recommend a solution, or if he/she can recommend someone else to step in when your teacher is not available to teach you. It is very hard for a professional to perform and teach at the same time and we need to be prepared to be flexible, as you've been doing. However, teachers usually want to see you success and if you communicate your concern clearly to them, they'll likely to find a solution for you. I don't recommend looking for a different teacher or worse, having two teachers, without talking to your current teacher first. No need to risk hurting your current teacher and do talk to him/her to give them a chance to fix the problem before making any change.
Sarah, I would look around and check out some other teachers - You may find someone that is just as good or even better that can teach you regularly, or at least someone that can keep you on track in between lessons. This could also get messy if your teachers really disagree on their approach.
Do you think your current teacher would be open to helping you find another teacher? Or, perhaps helping you find someone whom you could go to on those weeks when your teacher is not in town?