Choosing the right music school for your child, your family or yourself can feel like one of the most daunting tasks after you decide to start music lessons. The particular teacher and music school you choose can make or break you or your child’s musical experience.
For discerning families looking for a vibrant, healthy and growing music school to join, it is not something that should be done in a hurry, so here are 9 things to check when learning more about a music school!
Location, Location, Location!
The closest music school to you may seem like the best option time and convenience-wise, but you need to ask yourself what you want to get out of music lessons. Yes, there may be someone who teaches violin a few doors over, but will they give you what you really want and need? Our goal is to create and provide music lessons that are fun, educational and instill a life-long love of music. If this is your goal, then it is worth it to drive a bit longer to be part of that community. A few of our students who have been with us since the very beginning have followed us around and don’t mind making their drive a bit longer, because they value what we have to offer them.
Your Goals And Vision
Location leads us into goals. What are your goals in taking music lessons? What do you want to accomplish? Does the school offer lessons that are in alignment of your vision? Can they accommodate your needs and desires? We don’t want to toot our own horn, but our teachers design and tailor a program that meets your needs, since we believe that every student is unique. Are you interested in competitions and RCM exams? Our teachers are experienced in getting students ready for exams and competitions, however it is always best to make sure you and your teacher have the same vision and are on the same page.
Communication Is Key
Does this particular music school allow you to contact your teacher? Is there consistent and clear communication between you and the staff or office? What is the tone of the communication? A healthy music school will allow you to ask questions, without pushing you off to their website. A growing and reputable music school will allow their students to have direct contact with their teacher, which allows for growth and depth of relationship!
Who Are The Teachers?
There are many indicators of a healthy, vibrant and knowledgeable music school staff. Are the teachers passionate about what they do? Is there any indication of the staff and teachers being a tight-knit team? If there are younger or less experienced teachers, is there any indication that they are continuing their education or being mentored by a more experienced teacher? For that matter, do all staff have a track record of continuing their education, through workshops and courses? Choose a music school where the director and/or owner is also a musician, and bonus points if they actually teach at the school! This ensures that you are part of a community that prides themselves on providing quality education and is community driven.
Not Just Private Lessons!
Does this music school offer anything other than just private lessons? Just private lessons can foster a lonely existence for any student, so go with a music school that has other activities and events on offer, like recitals and studio get-togethers. At WSM, we are built firmly on our community and believe that to inspire a life-long love for music, music students need to have the chance to participate in making music with and for other people, which is why we offer so many performance and studio opportunities!
What Will Be Required Of You
Before starting lessons, be sure that you know what will be required of yourself, either as a parent or a student, and your child. Is it clear how much practicing is expected? Do you understand your parental role as a musician’s parent? Are you expected to be in the lessons or can you drop-and-go? The answers to these questions and many more can be nasty surprises in the middle of October when you start to ask questions, or your music teacher emails to ask why your child hasn’t been practicing at home. A good music school will also volunteer the answers to these questions if you don’t know what to ask! A music teacher that is frustrated with you for not knowing something they didn’t provide is not a good fit for you!
Trial Lessons Available
If multiple instruments are taught, choose a music school that allows you or your child to try out an instrument or teacher before registering. Some schools do not allow for a trial lesson before hand, and since music lessons are a hefty time and financial investment, a good music school will allow potential students to try one or two to make sure that they have all the information they need to make the best decision they can for their family. At WSM, we offer trial lessons all year round to new students and current students who are interested in another instrument!
Real Reviews And New Web Content?
Sure, a flashy website or Facebook page is nice, but if their page doesn’t change at all over time to reflect their evolution, they are most likely not the music school for you. Are there reviews online that are available for you to read and easy to find? Are the reviews from people like you?
A Warm And Welcoming Attitude
And finally, do you feel welcomed when you walk in the door? Do they welcome you with a smile and are they happy to see you?
I hope that some of this has helped you to make a more informed decision on choosing the right music school for your family in the future. We do hope that if you are in the North York/Willowdale/Lansing area you will consider us to partner with on your musical journey, but all of this information still applies even if you decide to go with another music school.