Time to change teacher?

December 16, 2015 at 12:15 AM · I would love to hear comments on when the time is right to change teachers. Particularly, if after several years you still come to the lesson nervous not about the material, but the demeanor of the instructor. Should you grin and bear it, or in reality does it hold you back from growth that comes with building confidence and increased motivation? Is it acceptable to say that a student must figure out how to sound better, while the teacher can only point out obvious problems? Thanks!

Replies (20)

December 16, 2015 at 12:57 AM · I think it's acceptable to study with the same teacher for a long period of time (3-4 years or so). If you don't like your teacher, you could change.

December 16, 2015 at 01:03 AM · There have been several threads about this in the past. If you are asking the question, then it is probably time to change. In your specific situation, if you have anxiety about your lessons over the communication style of your teacher, then definitely, find someone with whom you have better chemistry.

December 16, 2015 at 01:48 AM · I think all of your points are excellent.

December 16, 2015 at 05:04 PM · It sounds like the teacher in question is going off a checklist of items and thinks you have to master one before you can move on to the next. I had a teacher like this in the past and because of it we didn't click. If you want something else out of your (or your child's?) lessons, don't be afraid to contact other teachers in your area. Look around at who's available, don't be afraid to ask tough questions about teaching styles and expectations (both of the teacher and *yourself*). There can be a world of difference between the training to be a professional vs someone who plays for fun. Be honest what you want and convey that both to new teachers as well as your current one.

December 16, 2015 at 05:23 PM · Wow. Interesting point there Sara.

December 16, 2015 at 09:06 PM · There are some teachers with this approach - what does not kill you will eventually make your stronger!

Good news is that if you master your master, the stage will be a piece of cake.

Bad news - your teacher might just be on a power trip with no essence and nothing to really teach you.

One the other end of continuum and equally useless are those who sugar-coat every lesson.

Follow your guts.

December 18, 2015 at 10:20 AM · And your heart..

December 18, 2015 at 06:45 PM · Thanks to all responders! Smiley you make a great point about "if you are asking" in the first place... and Rocky, you are so right about mastering the master.... I think I will give it a few more tries with all the comments made in mind.... I surely don't need to be coddled, but as an adult I need a certain level of human respect and sober decorum. Anyway, thanks again to all!

December 18, 2015 at 07:43 PM · Greetings,

just reading between the lines, as someone who enjoys and respects adult beginners, I would guess you need to change teacher.

In my experience, adult leanrners are a lot more nervous and anxoius about playing in any contetx than youngsters. I presume it comes from all the emotional baggae associated with adulthood and is ot in any sens ea fault. But the teache rneeds to be very sensitive to this and work extr hard to create a situation in which an adult fels respected as an equal, although a studne, and not under any pressure. under those conditipns an adult

earne rwill make extraordinary progress. Too many teachers are afarid to admit, even to themselves, that they think adult learner sare a waste of time. Absolute nonsense.

I had actually had an adult learner able to play Saint seans three within three years. A child who did that might be called a prodigy. This student was just happy sitting at home playing Saint seans to herself. She didnt want to do it with an orchstra or anything.



December 18, 2015 at 10:47 PM · I had a teacher like this, and decided to change. Both teachers required a very high level of playing, but the teacher I switched from was never happy with me. Ever. No matter how prepared I was.

I think it is important to find someone with whom you can work well.

December 18, 2015 at 11:30 PM · That's horrible. I can sympathize for that, Brecklynn. I have never had a teacher like that or even heard of such teachers before. I agree with your point there.

December 19, 2015 at 09:11 PM · My violin teacher was never happy with me... and at first, I complained a lot.

But to this day he's my favorite teacher because he just got right to work, and never sugarcoated. He made me eat the hard truth, and forced me to realize that I should not play violin as if it was going to be my career; instead, he made me love to play it for the sake of beauty and perfection. More or less, he bullied me into being a better person, able to live in the moment, while teaching me how to make myself a better violinist.

I now enjoy working on the same passage over and over, knowing that while I may never be happy with it, that was never the point. The point is to get closer to perfect beauty.

That being said, I had 4 violin teachers... and I only clicked with the 4th.

So a teacher you do not mesh with right away, it might still be worth it. But if after a few months you do not feel as though your car cannot get you to the lesson fast enough, I'd consider a change if possible. If you hate the teacher, though, consider going for a few more lessons. Sometimes, true respect is disguised as contempt.

The worst thing is if you feel indifferent about your teacher.

December 22, 2015 at 09:00 PM · Buri,

You as a wise sage! We adult learners do bring lots of insecurities and "baggage" with us.... I try like heck not too, although I imagine I still fail at that. I do believe that my teacher does not see an older student who practices more than most of the younger ones as a waste of time (luckily), but still she does not approach the lesson as an equal partner assisting in my journey as you have mentioned. That would be quite freeing and I would not spend useless energy trying to understand the mental power struggle games that my particular personality loathes. I tend to be too meek and ultra-respectful of any teacher who is helping me to learn. Everyone tells me I need to be more forceful and not be bullied.... I appreciate your comments, and all comments received!!

I must mention that I was quite impressed to hear of your 3rd year student that was able to play SS#3.


December 22, 2015 at 09:37 PM · Sometimes thins just come together in weird ways. I dont think I will ever see then

ikes of that again. The person in question had never layed an imstrument but was the daughter of a famous Japanese enka singer so I suppose she had musicical eosure from the year dot. She wa salso one of the least intellctual people I have ever met. Not stupid but not interested in anything cmplex. Preferrd to spend time with animals with which she appeared to be able to communicate better than mostbof us. I id suggeste dshe had emotional baggage she would have just shrugged and gone back to playing with her pet turtles.

Funny world....

December 22, 2015 at 10:18 PM · ...sounds like the making of a good novel! Interesting idea to compare natural musical ability against deep thinkers, analytical types, and those who have the ability to let everything roll off their back like a duck. Something to ponder (oops, being analytical) whilst one considers the obligatory New Year's resolution. Funny world, indeed. Thanks for the reply!

December 23, 2015 at 09:33 AM ·

December 23, 2015 at 07:00 PM · get a list or recommendations of teachers from local high school orchestra directors, local string shops. Look at local colleges/universities for violin professors, send them emails asking if they would teach. Many universities have community music school divisisions where there can be 2 to 8 teachers.

Once you find a potential teacher, send them an introductory email, indicating what you want, see what they come back with, set up trial lessons ( many are free), and see what the teacher does/advises during the lesson. I look for the person who points out the most critical, specific problems and indicates how they would fix it.

December 24, 2015 at 06:43 AM · Oh gosh ... I could tell a few stories about tough teachers. I have been there, seen it all and here's my thought.

The most important quality in a teacher is their belief in you. If that one quality is present, you walk away from even brutal lessons feeling motivated. If it's not, you're both wasting each other's time. Go find someone who believes in you.

December 24, 2015 at 10:16 AM · I think if you spend more time thinking about the teacher and his/her reactions than you do about your music, then it *is* time to change teachers. However, it is a very hard thing to do.

In my own four years back on the fiddle, I have finished with two teachers, but in each case matters had to come to a head, because I loathe confrontation. The two teachers had started to bully me, because both were only used to teaching children, but because I can't stand being at variance with anyone, I just went home and seethed.

Unfortunately, in seeking to avoid confrontation, I merely ensured that when it came it was big and painful. With hindsight, I wish I'd just said, politely, 'I don't think this is working for us any more. Thank you for helping me, but it's probably time to move on.'

Good luck with finding a new teacher.

December 29, 2015 at 02:22 PM · Thanks to all who responded. I have a new plan for 2016 due to everyone's input. Plus, much tension over this subject has been reduced (a good thing for sound quality :-))and I am even able to approach my practice differently.



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