At the Academy, we’re often asked about our rates for classes, and how they compare to other music schools. Some schools offer cut-throat rates for private lessons, and prospective students ask “why should I study at the Academy?”
Our faculty all have Bachelors degrees in music, many have a Masters or PhDs. We pride ourselves on only having faculty with certified credentials, to ensure that we offer you the best education we can. Some for-profit music schools employ young students (often as young as 16) with little to no formative training on their instrument, and may not disclose their faculty’s credentials at all.
Why is this important?
Almost everyone sees notices in the paper for cheap lessons, or maybe your neighbour’s son/daughter is offering lessons from their house, and they studied Band in High School, or took some lessons a few years back. They’re probably going to offer lessons at a significant discount than that of a qualified teacher, and that discount can be really tempting for a family who is on a tight budget.
So why choose a university-educated teacher? I compare it to repairing your car. You could get the neighbour kid to fix it, because he took some shop classes in high school. He probably knows a bit about car repair, and some of the basic tools. However, he’s far more likely to damage your engine, do a bad job of the repair, or introduce more problems than you started with than a licensed, qualified mechanic.
It’s the exact same with music lessons. On so many occasions, students come to us who have studied with unqualified teachers, and they have to spend months or even years correcting significant mistakes that the other teacher never picked up, or mistakes that the teacher had in their technique, because they themselves didn’t learn from a qualified teacher.
But my child is just starting out, and doesn’t need all that!
It’s when a student is starting out that they need a good foundation the most! Learning bad technique at the very beginning can be extremely detrimental down the road to making progress, because you have to unlearn so much more, and habits you’ve been practising into your memory for years are so ingrained that it’s very difficult and time consuming to break them.
I myself learned many poor techniques in band class, and after 3 years of study, decided to take private lessons. In my first lesson alone, my teacher identified over a dozen MAJOR errors that I had learned, including wrong note fingerings, wrong hold, very bad embouchure, and poor breathing/breath control. It took many frustrating months to fix everything, but once I did, I progressed faster than everyone in my school, and got the top awards for music students.
So when you’re looking for a music teacher, ask for their credentials. A Bachelor’s degree or ARCT on every instrument they teach should be a minimum.