What you need to look out for to identify the good courses and the not so good ones!
1) Do you learn all the chords and not just notes?
It came as a surprise to me that there are teachers out there, who will simply teach their students notes on a scale, but not how to form a chord! This is unacceptable, and it must be a part of any basic instrumental training programme to include chords, notes, inversions and minor chords.
2) Does it teach you to play by ear and also to read musical notation?
Too many courses are focussed solely on one or the other! This is no good, because we are now to the point where it’s not good enough to churn out musicians who can’t play music other than if they have sheets of notes in front of them. On the other extreme, we have the musicans who wouldn’t know what a C9 chord is! You need to seek balance in any course that you undertake!
3) Is the price reasonable?
This one is just basic common sense. Some schools will offer prices such as £32 per hour. If you can afford to pay that, then that’s fine, but most people at this time are tightening their wallets – and with good reason! Also be sure to realise that not all music teachers are made equal! You may want to steer away from the £32 per hour group, but don’t fall into the £10 per hour trap either! Some teachers who charge this may lack confidence in their own abilities!
4) Do you have confidence in the teacher?
Meet the teacher. Sometimes there is a personality melding that needs to go on. There are teachers out there who are jobsworths! I have written about this in a previous article on “why guitar students fail”. Also, make sure your teacher is competent and confident!
5) Does it have an end goal to work towards?
Graded Exams? A certain number of finished songs? A certain grasp of certain aspects of playing? What is it you hope to achieve, and is there a plan set out for achieving it?
6) Does it put your desires as its most important aspect?
This is the most important part, and if it’s not met, you should walk away. You need to make sure that you are getting what you want. There is no point in learning a style of music you don’t like, or working towards exams you don’t want or playing songs you don’t enjoy! Insist that your goals are paramount. A private teacher is a service provider, you pay that teacher to help you to achieve your aims and goals!
So that’s my list! As usual, if you have any additions to the list, feel free to put them below in the comments section! If you live in Belfast, you can check out the Academy, and you can check out our Beginners Course!