What Are the Qualities of a Good Music Teacher?

  • Kate Johnston
  • Published: September 24, 2022
  • Last updated: Oct 26, 2023
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As most advanced musicians will tell you, the best way to effectively learn a musical instrument or develop skill as a singer is through one-on-one music lessons with an experienced teacher. 

But, with so many instructors to choose from, knowing how to find a good music teacher is tricky – and perhaps the most impactful decision you’ll make in your music journey. After all, this is the person who will help guide, inspire and determine how much you’ll learn by the strength of their communication, knowledge, and teaching skills.

At Tunelark, we take time to get to know the skills and strengths of every instructor in our expansive professional network. This allows us to match students’ unique learning styles and personalities with a hand-picked instructor that will help each individual achieve their music goals. 

Are you looking for a piano teacher for a child, an expert in recording and editing tracks, or someone to teach you how to sing? Below are our 8 top tips for how to find the right music teacher for you – no matter your music interests.

1. They meet your basic music learning needs

Before jumping into music lessons, we recommend that you take the time to (1) ask yourself some fundamental questions and (2) vet your potential music instructor. This quick assessment will save you time down the line and ensure you and your teacher are a fit.

Questions every student should ask themselves

Any music journey should start with identifying your personal music needs and dreams. Your passion will be the guide and the fuel to your music journey, so it’s vital that you tune in to your core motivations before you begin. 

You should be able to answer a few key questions: 

  • What instrument are you most interested in? 
  • What genre(s) of music excites you? 
  • Do you have any goals with playing music? In other words, do you want to be able to play music for yourself, sing or play a certain song, write music, perform in public, or something else? 

Second, you need to identify your current level of expertise. Moving forward, this will also help your instructor pinpoint which effective music teaching strategies to use.

Are you brand new to music or do you want to pick up where you left off in your music studies? Perhaps you’re an intermediate learner and would like a teacher to help you advance and practice your skills regularly.

The answers to these questions will set the stage for your learning plan and identify your starting point. 

Questions to ask of potential music teachers

Once you’ve identified your own music interests and background in music, it’s time to answer some basic questions about the instructor to see if they’re a good fit for you:

  • Are they an expert or at least very experienced in your chosen instrument or music skill?

A strong teacher has ample professional teaching experience in your preferred instrument or music skill. It takes years of experience in playing and teaching to be able to meet a student where they’re at and organize thoughtful, structured lessons that balance play and learning. At Tunelark, we ensure that teachers have the experience to make every lesson worth your time.

  • Do your schedules align?

Finding the right schedule for your studies can be a challenge. It’s important that your instructor is able to cater to your schedule whether you’re looking for after-school classes for a child, early morning sessions before work, or a short, lunch-time lesson. When you sign up to learn with Tunelark, we take care to find a teacher that matches your schedule, so learning is easy and convenient for you.

  • Does the music teacher provide one-on-one music lessons?

Every student has different learning speeds and musical interests, so the fastest way to learn is a one-on-one lesson. Pre-recorded online videos like the ones found on YouTube are great supplemental materials but can be challenging to learn from since they’re intended for broad audiences. 

Through one-on-one lessons, on the other hand, students receive customized lessons and get direct, tailored feedback from the music teacher. And, if your jam is learning an electronic DJ set, studying the intricacies of a Mozart piano sonata, or training your voice to belt a Beyoncé song, so be it! A great teacher will follow your curiosity to make your music dreams a reality.

  • How convenient is it for you to take music lessons?

In the past, music students had to commute to their instructor’s music studio or home to learn. But this could double or triple the time it took to take a lesson. Who has time to waste gas and wait around? 

Tunelark lessons are 100% virtual and teachers use the latest technology so students can see the instruments & faces up close as if they were right beside the teacher in the studio. We show each student how to set up their video call for high-quality sound, so you and your instructor can play beautiful music without worrying about quality issues. 

2. They have a proven passion for music education

Not all excellent musicians are excellent educators. As a network of expert educators, we want to shout this from the rooftops! 

Just because someone has incredible talent as a musician doesn’t mean they have any skill in passing their knowledge to others. Many musicians have a narrow range of specialties or lack the communication and organizational skills to lead and empower students. It’s vitally important that your instructor has both passion and experience in teaching music.

Tunelark only accepts experienced music educators onto our roster. Even our younger instructors have substantial experience teaching as well as having taken courses in pedagogy. (Fun fact: some Tunelark instructors have been teaching music for more than three decades!)

3. They know how to make it fun

Our number one rule is that music learning should be fun! A music instructor’s demeanor sets the tone for students’ learning journeys. Does this teacher encourage play & imagination?

Making lessons fun by playing songs the student loves is motivating in the long run and a proven way for students to stick with music. A mix of learning music fundamentals with playing songs is a good balance of fun and progress.

Moreover, gamified learning between lessons is a great way to get some practice in. Tunelark has dozens of games that you can use to practice skills like note reading and ear training that adjust to students’ learning speeds. 

4. They pay attention to detail

An excellent music instructor is able to perceive how students are progressing in the lessons and adjust their teaching technique and speed so students are engaged without being overwhelmed. They should watch closely and provide regular feedback on your technique.

Lessons shouldn’t feel so fast that a student is overwhelmed or so slow that it’s dull. One of the qualities of a good music teacher is having the ability to determine the pacing that is right for you based on your performance and comfort.

5. They empathize and encourage

A great music instructor must be able to empathize with students’ challenges and feelings and be able to encourage the students to push through despite difficulties. Music journeys are long, and it takes patience and endurance to see results. 

Find an instructor who knows how and when to encourage and celebrate progress, and normalize difficulties that every music learner experiences.

6. They have patience and creativity

A good music teacher is patient with students with different learning challenges or those with steeper learning curves. It takes creativity and strong music fundamentals to break down complex songs or music concepts to meet students where they are.

Effective teachers use methods to support students who learn in different ways. Some students learn best by listening, while others prefer actively playing, emulating, taking notes, or looking at visual aids. And because music, after all, is a creative pursuit, the best music teachers come up with various ways to keep their students engaged and entertained.

7. They are good planners and well-organized

One of the most important – and often overlooked – qualities of a music teacher is their organization skills. A high-quality instructor always has a plan for each student and a vision for the student’s learning journey. 

Furthermore, excellent music teachers maintain a productive learning session and make good use of time. They are punctual and well-prepared for lessons, but still allow some wiggle room for adjustments in case something unexpected happens or comes up during class. They also maintain an engaging class to keep students on track.

Make sure you vet any potential teacher by asking them how they envision your music learning journey, how they prepare for class, and any tools they use to stay organized. This will help you tell quickly whether an instructor is invested in your progress and has foundational planning skills.

8. They are tech savvy

Technology is one of the most powerful tools that we can leverage to maximize our learning. The best music educators know how to take advantage of it in order to supplement their students’ learning. Moreover, effective teaching strategies in music include consistency in lessons and practice that are made easier through virtual lessons and repetitive exercises that teach music fundamentals through online games.

Longtime music teachers know that there’s nothing better than one-on-one student-teacher time coupled with online music tools that can support learning growth between lessons.

Tunelark instructors are equipped with the technology and the know-how needed to boost every student’s learning trajectory. Teachers can assign practice games that adapt to students’ learning speeds and securely share sheet music and messages via the Tunelark platform. Our teachers love to share other favorite music apps for tuning instruments, finding sheet music, or recording tracks to enhance practice and lessons. 

Tunelark: A Personalized Music Learning Experience

At Tunelark, we hire music teachers who embody all of the qualities of an effective instructor, inviting only those with extensive experience, passion, professionalism, and positive attitudes to join our network. We recruit distinguished music teachers and custom-match students whose goals, experience level, and personality will be well suited to their ideal instructor. 

One hundred percent of our instructors are vetted and certified through a muli-interview sequence led by a veteran music educator. Not only do they hold degrees from top music schools, but they are also passionate about guiding their students’ unique musical journeys.

Tunelark makes sure that each student is paired with an instructor that fits their needs and goals. Here’s our three-step process:

  1. Choose your teacher from our community of vetted, highly experienced experts.
  2. Book your trial lesson at 50% off.
  3. Our music lessons are guaranteed. If your instructor isn’t a fit, let your dedicated account manager know, and we’ll find you a new instructor until you’re 100% satisfied.

We’re excited for you to meet our highly talented and dedicated instructors! When you’re ready, we’re here to help you get matched with the music educator that’s right for you. Begin your music learning journey today.

About Tunelark

Tunelark is a community of inspiring, professional music instructors. Our shared vision is to help our students connect with their intrinsic love of music and follow their curiosity to grow as musicians and people. 

Lessons take place over video chat so that students can learn from the comfort and convenience of their own home. 

Browse our community of expert teachers and pick the one who resonates most with your goals and learning style. As always, we guarantee a great match or your money back. 

If you’re ready to get started with 1-on-1 online music lessons, book your first lesson with a Tunelark instructor today. Your first lesson is 50% off!