Learning to play a musical instrument is a fun and rewarding experience, but it is sometimes difficult to decide where to start. The guidance and sage advice of a qualified music teacher are very important, and will help you in accomplishing your long-term musical goals. This article will give you some ideas about where to look for a private teacher, how much he will charge, and how to decide whether he has the qualifications to teach you the skills that are necessary to succeed.

Where To Look

There are many potential places that you can begin your search for a music teacher, the most obvious being a music store.  Many music stores have bulletin boards where local musicians and private teachers can hang fliers and business cards advertising their services.  You should also check at the front desk, because many music stores keep business cards at the register, ready to give to a prospective student.  One of the best places to find a private teacher is at a local college or university.  If you have such a school nearby, you can call the music department and ask if there are any majors on your instrument of choice that offer private lessons.  The instruction that you receive from a student teacher is likely very valuable and comparatively inexpensive.

The Interview

It is very important to remember that you are hiring an instructor to work for you, so be ready to interview any possible private teachers. One of the most important things to look for in a teacher is someone who knows how to read music. Reading music is not only an important skill for all instruments, but it shows that your teacher has dedication and the will to learn about all aspects of his instrument. You will also want to find someone who has worked as a musician, either with live bands or in a recording studio. Even if you take lessons from a college student, try to find one who is active in student ensembles and/or extra-curricular bands. The most important thing is to find a teacher who is proficient in a variety of topics and musical styles, and someone who knows about the styles of music that interest you.

How Much to Pay?

Pay can vary greatly from instructor to instructor. A student teacher will typically charge fifteen or twenty dollars per hour, while the hourly rates for a well-known studio veteran can venture into the hundreds! A beginning student should expect to pay twenty to forty dollars per hour, with each lesson typically lasting thirty minutes. As your skill increases, you will eventually outgrow your current teacher. Even if you haven't surpassed his playing, there will come a point when they have nothing more to teach you. When this happens, you can find a different, more advanced teacher that can take you further toward reaching your goals. You can also expect to pay more for advanced instruction, up to sixty dollars per hour for a PhD or a seasoned professional.

The most important thing is to have fun. It's vital to stay with the same teacher over a long period, but if you aren't enjoying your lessons or progressing in the way that you would like, you can always find another instructor.