Quiz: Is This Music Teacher Right for Me?

by   |  April 17, 2012
Is This Teacher Right for Me

If music lessons aren’t working out for you, it’s time to evaluate why. You may need a new teacher. Figure out what you need to succeed.

How do you know if your current music teacher is the best fit for your needs?
 
How “good”other people think your teacher is has nothing to do with whether or not the teacher is a good fit for you.   Every student has unique goals and every teacher his own expectations.   In order for the student-teacher relationship to work, their goals and expectations must be harmonious—pun intended.
 
This quiz will not only help you evaluate your current arrangement, but help you understand your own goals and expectations.   You can improve your current situation or seek out a mentor who is better-suited to your needs.
 
Rate your current teacher according to your expectations.   In the quiz below, answer according to how strongly you agree or disagree with each statement.   (Remember, your answers are personal and highly subjective.   The final score does not necessarily reflect how “good” your teacher is.)
 
For each question, use the following scale as a reference:
1                  2                  3                  4                  5                  6                  7                  8                  9                  10

Strongly Disagree      Disagree      Somewhat Disagree      Somewhat Agree      Agree      Strongly Agree

 
 
1)                       The teacher listens to me and is on board with my personal goals.

1                  2                  3                  4                  5                  6                  7                  8                  9                  10
 
2)                       The teacher leads to the extent I find appropriate in my ideal student-teacher relationship.

1                  2                  3                  4                  5                  6                  7                  8                  9                  10
 
3)                       I agree with the teacher’s business practices, including payment methods, scheduling, cancellation and other policies and procedures.

1                  2                  3                  4                  5                  6                  7                  8                  9                  10
 
4)                       The teacher gives me as much performance time during lessons as I desire.

1                  2                  3                  4                  5                  6                  7                  8                  9                  10
 
5)                       I like the extent to which the teacher encourages me to perform in public.

1                  2                  3                  4                  5                  6                  7                  8                  9                  10
 
6)                       The teacher helps me develop my skills at a pace I find appropriate.

1                  2                  3                  4                  5                  6                  7                  8                  9                  10
 
7)                       The teacher puts the perfect amount of pressure on me to really succeed.

1                  2                  3                  4                  5                  6                  7                  8                  9                  10
 
8)                       The teacher expects me to practice a reasonable amount each week.

1                  2                  3                  4                  5                  6                  7                  8                  9                  10
 
9)                       Our relationship is characterized by mutual trust and respect.

1                  2                  3                  4                  5                  6                  7                  8                  9                  10
 
10)                   I would never progress at the rate I am improving without this teacher’s help.

1                  2                  3                  4                  5                  6                  7                  8                  9                  10
 
11)                   The teacher maintains a good balance between structure and spontaneity.

1                  2                  3                  4                  5                  6                  7                  8                  9                  10
 
12)                   The teacher explains concepts clearly in a way I can understand.

1                  2                  3                  4                  5                  6                  7                  8                  9                  10
 
13)                   Our personalities work well together.

1                  2                  3                  4                  5                  6                  7                  8                  9                  10
 
14)                   I learn as much music theory as I want from this instructor.

1                  2                  3                  4                  5                  6                  7                  8                  9                  10
 
15)                   In our lessons, we spend the perfect amount of time on sight reading.

1                  2                  3                  4                  5                  6                  7                  8                  9                  10
 
16)                   The teacher helps me overcome my weaknesses.

1                  2                  3                  4                  5                  6                  7                  8                  9                  10
 
17)                   The teacher helps me build my strengths.

1                  2                  3                  4                  5                  6                  7                  8                  9                  10
 
18)                   When disagreements arise, we are always able to work them out by communicating effectively.

1                  2                  3                  4                  5                  6                  7                  8                  9                  10
 
19)                   The teacher maintains a good balance between traditional methods and remaining open to new ideas and approaches.

1                  2                  3                  4                  5                  6                  7                  8                  9                  10
 
20)                   Overall, I am highly satisfied with my teacher’s methods.

1                  2                  3                  4                  5                  6                  7                  8                  9                  10
 

What your scores indicate:

180-200 = 90-100% = Excellent!
 
This teacher is a good fit for your personal goals.   While you may have disagreements at times, your expectations and goals line up consistently.   Since your results are so positive, feel free to give this positive feedback to your teacher—and plenty more—so that other students can benefit from your evaluation.
 
 
150-179 = 75-89% = Could Be Better
 
You may have a few bumps to smooth over with your teacher.   No relationship is perfect, but good communication helps to work out virtually all minor issues.   Try discussing your concerns with your teacher in a tactful way.    If you are in the lower end of this category and don’t feel comfortable bringing up these issues, you may consider looking elsewhere.   Just make sure your next student-teacher relationship is a better fit.
 
 
51-100 = 26-50% = Not So Great
 
Hopefully this exercise has helped you determine the underlying reasons for dysfunction.   You may have so many disagreements as to render reconciliation impossible.   If you continue your studies with a different instructor, make sure the expectations on both sides are clearly-set.   This way, you’ll be sure not to repeat bad experiences.
 
 
0-50 = 0-25% = Simply Awful!
 
You don’t need a quiz to realize that this relationship isn’t working.   Look back at your answers now and determine why this arrangement isn’t working, and what to look for in other arrangements.

More on: Classical Music, Communication, For Music Students, Music Teacher, Personal Development, Singing, Skills, Technique
About the Author:

Having achieved so many of her own dreams, Mimi West has devoted her career to paying it forward to the rising generation of musicians. You can follow her on Twitter @mydreamteacher.
Publshed: April 17, 2012  | 
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