I'm extremely satisfied with my Flamenco teacher, a real virtuoso.

When do you know that it is time to change to a new teacher?

  • 2
    To the close voter: Note that not all subjective questions should be closed. In my opinion, this is a "good subjective" question because it will encourage good, in-depth answers that are useful to the community. For more information on when to close as subjective, see, http://blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/09/good-subjective-bad-subjective/. – user28 May 8 '11 at 21:15
  • @MatthewRead, I appreciate that this site is open to more subjective questions and answers! – Frank Henard Jun 4 '15 at 14:43

I find that switching teachers is always disheartening (I still can't shake the guilt), but it can help to make you better rounded, and it reduces the risks that you develop needless prejudices.

Even the best teachers will have conflicting opinions with each other, and it's in those conflicts that you can discover your own style. Dealing with the mixed signals forces you to choose the option that you like better, as well as to make you think about why there are differences and whether or not there are even more options than you've been presented.

Also if you're ever performing in a group of any kind, having had different teachers will help you be more adaptive and open to the demands of the group.

As a simple thought experiment, of a teacher who's had only one teacher themselves and another teacher that's had several teachers, all else being equal, you'll probably want to learn from the one that's had a lot of teachers. Eventually you'll be your own daily teacher, and you'll want to strive to be your own best teacher.

That said, it's probably best to stick with one teacher for at least a year or two, maybe longer if you're just beginning. One thing that's considered a big no-no in education is for two teachers to immediately contradict each other; the student simply becomes confused and loses respect for both.

At least, these have been my experiences in learning violin. I'm pretty sure the situation's similar for any performing art.

Of course, if there's a style that you absolutely love and you want to conserve and emulate, then I think that's a valid goal of art too -- so in that case you might stick with the best teacher of that style. That's the case with a lot of violinists.

| improve this answer | |
  • Disheartening it may be, but one simply cannot mature as a player without having at least a small variety of teachers. It is important to experience a number of different views and methods to become well-rounded. Your other points are good ones, I think. – Noldorin May 10 '11 at 0:05

If you like your current teacher, are enjoying the training, and seem to be progressing well, then there is no reason to switch teachers. As the saying goes, "don't fix what isn't broken"; I see no reason to make an exception here.

If however one or more of these aspects is missing, then you may consider switching. It is worth noting that even a good teacher will not be able to teach you everything there is to know about a subject. Music, or even the playing of instruments, being a very broad subject, and some teachers will focus and be able to offer more on certain areas. Some still, you can only learn yourself.

I have been told in the past, by a very accomplished pianist, that he greatly valued the differences in the teachers he had. His earlier teachers in particular taught him good playing technique, others good theoretical understanding of the music and forms, and others still (more later on) good artistic interpretation and 'feeling'. Even beyond this, I have heard that learning how to play different composers/styles/eras from teachers who specialise thus is beneficial, at least at an advanced (performance?) level. (For example, there is no match for having a talented Spanish/Russian/etc. pianist teach you how to play a Spanish/Russian/etc. composer. Well, nationality or simply expertise, there is no substitute.)

As a final note, I might be tempted to add that even if everything is going fine and well with your current teacher, and you have not changed in years, it might be worth experimenting with another (without changing). Just to make sure you're not missing anything.

| improve this answer | |

Your teacher should be the person you want to learn from.

It's really as simple as that. If you work well with your current teacher and if his or her level of playing is something you strive for, then there's really no reason to change permanently. Conversely, if you don't get along with your teacher, or if their pedagogy just isn't working for you after some consistent trials, you should make it easier on both of you and find a new one.

Otherwise, the time to switch teachers is when your current one refers you to someone they think would be able to help you more than them.

At the same time, taking one or two lessons with different teachers in addition to your regular teacher is almost universally seen as a Good Thing. Every teacher realizes that sometimes hearing the same thing a slightly different way can make all the difference to a student. And of course, if the opportunity arises to take just a single lesson with a highly regarded professional, it's foolish to pass that up.

Also, as others have already mentioned, finding fresh perspectives can prevent your own style from getting stale. I prefer to decide what style I want to develop first and then find a teacher who can help me get there, but either method is valid.

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.