How To Choose A Cello Teacher

I am not going to do any self promotion for this. After experiencing and knowing so many music teachers and educators over the years, I can safely say that these are some of the characteristics of a cello or music teacher that you may find useful:

Inspiration: A good teacher must inspire confidence and aspiration beyond the grind of learning for the child. Learning the instrument is already difficult enough and every child has triggers which enables him or her to *want* to grind through the hours of practices. It is the duty of the teacher to discover that of his or her students.

Perspiration: A good teacher should be able to structure a viable learning and practice plan and keep the student accountable to the plan. The reality is that at the end of the day, 90% of the improvement will come from the student’s personal practice and it is foolhardy to think that just the weekly lessons is sufficient to ensure progress.

Reflection: A teacher should be reflective of his or her teaching approach and make adjustments to his or her teaching practice continuously. This involves continuous learning and humility that he or she does not necessary have the best solution all the time. There are always a better way to teach a certain concept.

Clarity: A teacher should be able to explain concepts of technique in an easy to understand manner. Just saying ‘louder’, ‘faster’ or the strangely interesting ”more music!!! more music!!!” to the student without explaining how that can be achieved is ineffective.

Ability: A teacher should have the ability to play the instrument well. But if you take a look around, the best players do not necessary have a coach that is the best in his or her prime. What does that say about teaching and abilities? It only shows that the ability of the teacher is not necessarily equivalent to the teaching ability. Teaching in itself possesses a very different set of gifts and talents. If that is not the case, we should all engage math professors to teach our kids mathematics in our schools.

Finally, the good teacher MUST have this ONE thing…. the HEART to teach. It is the main driver and engine of all the characteristics which I have talked about in the preceding points.