Not every great musician is also a great instructor. For example, there is a big difference between explaining someone how to walk, and just to walk. It’s the same with music. There are plenty of musicians – singers in particular – that may have never had a lesson in their life. Many of them learned singing by simply imitating others. Those folks are most likely very poor instructors, because they never approached music methodically or with their intellect.
The following is a list of seven qualities every great music instructor has. I experienced the effect of those qualities first hand by taking lessons with some of the finest music instructors alive among them are Jamey Aebersold and Bill Dobbins.
Tip: If you plan on taking lessons, be sure your teacher has most of those qualities.
Quality 1: A passion for teaching
If your teacher doesn’t like teaching, don’t take lessons with him/her. A miserable teacher can do tremendous harm to any student.
Quality 2: People skills
A good teacher has good people skills. A music student is first of all a human being. Treating each of them with respect and dignity, and be sensitive to the students individual abilities and needs as well as their psychological makeup.
Quality 3: Role model status
Ideally, the student looks up to the teacher, thus considering him/her as a role model. In contrast, when a student doesn’t respect the teacher – as a person or musician – the student tends to question everything the teacher tries to teach, which often leads to frustration for both parties.
Quality 4: A well structured methodical approach
Great teachers have a well structured methodical approach to what they are teaching.
Quality 5: Patience
A teacher that has no patience should not be teaching. Some teachers simply don’t remember how difficult it can be to play something new on the piano. Such a teacher tends to rush and discourage the student, which leads to frustration and anxiety, and most likely to performance fear.
Do you agree with my list?
Can you think of other important qualities a teacher should have?
Please use the comment section below to share your thoughts with us.