How to Audition a Teacher (and Find the Right One For You)Sep 21, 2022
By Anne Sullivan
Maybe you’ve moved to a new city, or perhaps your teacher relocated or moved away. Maybe you’re new to the harp, or you’d like a new perspective. Whatever your reason for looking for a new teacher, you can feel a little confused about how to make the best choice.
Of course there are many considerations like location, availability and cost. There’s an even more important question to ask, however, and only you know the answer: what do I love about playing the harp?
You may not have a very clear picture of what your harp journey could look like, of where the harp might take you or of the musical adventures in your future. But when you know what you love about playing the harp, you will know when you meet the right teacher.
Once you have pondered that a little, you can use the questions below to help you “audition” a new teacher and decide if she or he is a good fit for you. One important note: remember that there is not only one teacher who will be the right teacher for you; there are lots of wonderful harp teachers. Keep an open mind.
Question: How much time will you want me to practice each day?
Be honest with the teacher about your other commitments: school, sports, community or religious activities, etc. This will help you and the teacher set clear expectations right from the start.
Question: Besides lessons and practice, are there other things you ask your students to participate in, like studio recitals or exams?
Once again, this is being clear about expectations and responsibilities.
Question: What sort of playing do your other students do? Would I fit in with them?
Sometimes it’s reassuring to know that other students in your teacher’s studio are on similar paths. Every harpist is different, of course, but it may be hard to be the only one who plays folk music in a studio of classical harpists, for example.
Question: How did you first know you wanted to play the harp?
Every harpist loves to talk about how and why they started the harp. You will learn a lot about your teacher from their response. Just don’t ask her how old she is!
Here’s my number one tried and true tip. If the teacher asks you if you love playing the harp, or what you love most about playing the harp, and then is excited by your answer, you’ve found the right one!
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