By Rosemary Forrest
As the parent of two grown daughters, both of whom are singers, I learned
several things about picking teachers and schools for them.
- You should be welcome to observe your child's private lessons. And they
should take place at an appropriate time and place.
- Opportunities to perform are as important as good instruction. There
should be participation in community events, opportunities to audition for
solos, and more than just an end-of-year recital.
- Music is expensive. Expect what you pay for sheet music to roughly
equal the expense of several lessons. But it's a good investment if your
child is interested. It should be good sheet music, not just what's
popular this year.
- Singers should be taught a variety of styles and should be expected to
sing in at least German and Italian as well as English.
- Students should be given the opportunity to compete or be rated in
their area. A good music teacher will belong to professional organizations
that provide these opportunities.
- Colleges offering music majors should have undergraduate courses taught
by full professors, not graduate students. Some highly rated colleges use
graduate students to instruct the undergrads. Research colleges thoroughly if your high schooler wants to major in music. (The National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) website lists accredited schools of music and answers to frequently asked questions.)
- Check the credentials of the teachers in the area your child wants to
study. A great jazz school may not be what a classical singer needs, for