When you want to start taking music lessons, often the hardest part is trying to decide which teacher is right for you. As Thomas Edison said, “Good fortune is what happens when opportunity meets with planning.” And we’ve all heard the quote that “failing to plan is planning to fail.” So let’s talk about how to best plan for your music lesson experience, and how marketplaces like Tonara Connect can make it easier to choose your online music teacher.
What should I consider when taking lessons online?
When searching for an online music teacher, you want to make sure you are looking for teachers that teach the specific instrument you are looking to learn. Sometimes when doing google searches for teachers, you may end up with a piano teacher when you meant to find a harp teacher. With sites like Tonara Connect, it’s easy to see which instruments each teacher teaches by looking at the instrument icons right in the search results. You can also filter by instrument, helping you narrow down your choices.
It may be hard initially to know what music learning goals you want to set before meeting with a teacher. But it’s hard to know which teacher is right for you until you know what you want to get out of lessons. Are you hoping to play a certain style of music? Are you mostly interested in casually playing when you have time or are you hoping to dedicate hours each week to practice? Do you want to just learn to play by ear or would you like to learn to read music notation? Another helpful question to ask yourself is what do you envision being able to do by the end of your first year of lessons?
Not all teachers have the same education and training. If it’s important to you to find someone who has over 20 years of playing experience or someone who has completed a college degree in performance or music education, make sure you read up on teachers’ qualifications. Outside of the collegiate environment, most areas of the world do not require that teachers meet certain minimums or be certified. As such, you could accidentally end up with a teacher who has only started taking lessons themselves in the last couple of years. The money you invest in taking lessons with a teacher will go farther if you’ve made sure you are happy with the teacher’s qualifications and experience.
And be upfront about what experience you already have, too. If you’ve learned another instrument before or sang in a choir, that can significantly speed up the music reading process and help your teacher know what they need to review vs start from scratch in those first few lessons. If you’ve already had lessons before or you’ve learned to play by ear, let the teacher know. If you’ve learned a lengthy song by watching a YouTube video, that, too, can show a teacher that you are committed enough to work hard on small details, even if you still need help. The more you let your teacher know about your history, the more tailored the lessons can be.
With online lessons, regular communication via email or text or even in the Tonara Studio or Tonara Connect chat is crucial. If you aren’t checking your messages to find out if a lesson time had to be moved or if a new Zoom or Rock Out Loud Live link is necessary, you could forfeit the cost of the scheduled lesson. If you’ve taken the time to research which teacher is right for you, it’s important to make sure you stay in communication with them so you will be able to continue studying with them.
With taking online lessons, you might think the physical location of the lesson doesn’t apply. But if you really like a teacher you’ve researched who lives in Australia and you are in Canada, it can be really tricky to be available for a lesson when that teacher is teaching. Be sure to look up the time zone of the teacher you are considering and how far apart that is from your own time zone. Tonara Connect makes that even easier, though, by doing that time zone calculation for you. The teacher enters their availability in their own time zone and then you see that availability in whatever time zone you reside in (as long as your computer and Internet provider has set the time zone correctly).
6. Language & Student Age
These last two are fairly obvious but can make a big difference in how quickly students progress. If you are a parent searching for lessons for your child and a language barrier or accent will make it hard for them to follow along during a lesson, you may want to factor in how fluent the teacher is in your child’s preferred language. And with students who are minors, be aware that some teachers require parent or guardian involvement, especially if the student is not able to read well yet. Also consider that due to legal requirements, all lessons will need to be scheduled and paid for by a parent or guardian.
Where to Go From Here
Remember the teacher you select has the greatest influence on your music learning success. Take the time to research the teachers’ qualifications, be ready to communicate often, and if you are a parent looking for lessons for your child, be ready to be involved. Consider using a marketplace like Tonara Connect to take the guesswork out of that research and to make it convenient to communicate before, after, and between your music lessons.
Plan for your good fortune today.