Can a student tell if their teacher is good or bad?
Is there any way for a student to know if their teacher is good or bad, or is it only something that can be diagnosed by another teacher? The specific issue brought up in another thread was one where the teacher rushes the student through repertoire they aren’t ready for.
In my experience, the pieces my teacher gives me all feel harder than I can play well, but I feel like I am learning from them and improving. That said, because they are hard, I know I am not playing all the notes in tune and often can’t play up to speed. But I do work on intonation with slow practice and have practice techniques for problem areas. I just don’t think I can play any of the pieces really well or beautifully.
I have experience in another instrument, but violin is so much more complex that I can’t tell whether my progress is good or not. I can detect my own imperfections but don’t know how much a “good” teacher would force me to “perfect” those things before moving on vs incrementally working on those things over multiple pieces.
Find a teacher with good qualifications. If good technique has been drummed into them, they will drum good technique into you.
What are your current teacher's credentials?
I’ve been to four different teachers and I feel like I can easily tell which one is the best. Not surprisingly it is also the only teacher of the four to have degrees in both performance AND teaching. If you have only ever had one teacher I doubt you would be able to tell their worth unless they were outright full of it.
If a teacher makes you feel worthless or like you hate the violin, then they're definitely a bad choice.
It seems from what you've written that you don't necessarily have a "bad" teacher - just that you have a failure to communicate. Apparently you don't know his motivations and he doesn't know yours. Is he moving you through repertoire quickly to familiarize yourself with new techniques, or because he thinks you might become bored by working on the same thing too long? Have you mentioned to your teacher that you think you're going through pieces before you've had a chance to polish them, and you'd like to spend more time working on intonation and getting them up to speed?
Does your teacher give you:
I don't think most students have enough experience with a variety of teachers to be able to tell who is good or bad.
One useful thing my teacher taught me after a year or so on the basics was how to really listen intensively to my own playing, analyze it for faults, identify them, work out what was going wrong, and then that would be a fair indication of what needed to be done to correct it, based on what I had already been taught. Effectively, as I eventually realized, I was being taught how to teach myself. Also, how to analyze technically difficult passages to identify the point of failure, and then mend it by very slow practice either side of that point.
Not to be bigheaded, but I think I could tell (as a student) whether my teacher was good or not. When I first started, my teacher taught all instruments at our school. So i struction was not "pure" i.e. she was not a violinist (I think she was a clarinettist). Second teacher was better, but we didn't get on at all, so I missed most of my lessons with her. Third teacher was one of the ones who wanted to get through pieces, not really concentrating on technique etc. Teacher at sixth form was better, but he was primarily a pianist so was sort of lacking. The one after was very very good, its just a shame that I didn't see him often at all. He was good at explaining things and making things as simple as possible.
I haven't had a "bad" teacher. At age 11-12, at the beginner's stage, I instinctively knew that my first two teachers, both clarinet players, were inadequate. Later, 3 out of 6 teachers were "good" and I made rapid progress, technical break throughs, the first year with them. With 3 others, they were not "bad" but the fit was not quite right, and one had an eccentric approach to bowing.
I think it's easier to say when a relationship with a teacher is working than it is to say why a relationship with a teacher isn't working. Looking back at my own history, I begin to think that the people I've thought of as "bad teachers" were actually maybe okay teachers, and I was either a difficult student or just a clueless person. I am aware that I can be difficult and/or clueless.
I believe that; like every individual, teachers also have their strengths and weaknesses. Therefore pursuing an ultimate teacher in the hope of matching all your current and future needs is not a good idea. In fact this is a lost cause...
Yes. You can tell rather easily. Either it clicks for you or it doesn't, and if it's not working for you, don't hesitate to move on. Why waste your money and time?
One big thing I’ve noticed that separates teachers is if I do something incorrectly, I need to be told exactly what I’m doing to make the error. Ive found that some of the teachers I’ve encountered keep showing me over and over again how to do it correctly, but I find it INFINITELY more helpful if they can pinpoint what exactly I’m doing that is wrong. It is very hard for me to correct something by watching someone else play, but if they can point out specific details that I am doing incorrectly, then I can fix them...eventually at least :).
yes, you can tell. Number one, you should end with a good sounding piece. If you end up playing pieces out of tune, then you are perpetuating bad habits. No one wants to hear an out of tune piece. A better way to tell, shop around, seek out other teachers and request “trial lessons”. see what each teacher points out as problems. Then assess if what they are saying or want to do makes sense. This way you have a comparison. much better then reading posts from people that dont know you or have not heard you
I would argue that you can tell if a teacher is bad for you if they aren't giving you what you need. In my opinion, the purpose of a teacher is to help bridge the gaps between your potential and your current understanding of the instrument. A good teacher won't necessarily have all the answers for you, but they know how to push you in the right direction. The fact that you have concerns about your teacher's quality indicates that they are probably not right for you. You should be able to play your pieces well and up to tempo before moving on to new repertoire, and you certainly shouldn't feel that you have obvious technical flaws that just aren't being addressed. You can definitely try asking your teacher about these issues, though I don't know how helpful it will be at this point. How old is the OP? I only ask because I feel strongly that a teacher's role and responsibility varies considerably depending on the student's age and/or skill level. In any case, a student should always feel that their concerns are being addressed, and that they are gaining something new and useful from each lesson.
I am curious on one thing. Let's say you feel that your teacher's teaching method is not working for you (instead of just saying he is a bad teacher), and there is no alternatives in the area, what do you do? Is no teacher better than having a bad teacher?
I find it so curious that many people say that teachers will not take on adult learners. When you say this Erik, do you mean beginners? I ask because I have not had this experience as an adult returner (and lord knows, my teacher has their work cut out for them). Maybe folks receive "no's" because of the way in which they present themselves to the teacher? I understand why a lot of teachers don't want to work with adults (and it's been discussed here in the past).
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