It is hard to talk about good teaching without mentioning the word integrity. Integrity is the key ingredient to all long-lasting and meaningful relationships and certainly a key trait that you are looking for in a private music teacher.No matter the level of instruction or the type of musical instruction that you are looking for, keep in mind that you want to enter into a relationship that is healthy and respectful for all concerned.As a young boy after a couple of not so good teachers my parents found a great teacher for me that I studied with for 8 years. I’ll never forget when one day during a lesson my teacher told me that it was time for me to study with someone else during the summer months.I was stunned and hurt at first… he went on to explain that I needed input and instruction from another teacher who could add to what I had already learned.Little did I realize at the time how exceptional my teacher really was. He was more concerned that I would get the tools that I needed to be a successful musician then profiting from our relationship. He had integrity.It is vitally important to ask your prospective teacher key questions before you start. It is far easier to pass on a teacher before you ever start lessons then changing instructors mid stream. More than likely it will also probably save you quit a bit of money.Here are some Questions to Ask• How long have you been teaching and what is the age range of the students you teach?• Can you provide me with a couple of references? See if you can get a reference from a former student as well.• Can I sit in on a lesson with another student before making a commitment?… or commit to one lesson before making a decision?• Do you belong to any professional music associations? (eg. Texas Music Educators Association, Music Teachers National Association etc.)• What is your educational background?Your LOOKING FOR THESE TRAITS:• Are they empathetic?• Are they encouraging?• Are they positive?• Are they fair?• Do they stir up a passion for playing and learning?Good teachers will bring out the very best in their students regardless of their level of proficiency. Playing an instrument should be enjoyable.• Do they teach?Sounds stupid doesn’t it… do they focus on the student playing or do they just play everything themselves. Does the teacher talk excessively during the lesson? (Emphasis should be on teaching the student to play)The teacher that you are considering may be a great performer. Remember being a great performer is not a requirement for great teaching.In my experience I have only had a couple of teachers who were both great players and outstanding teachers. Making the assumption that if they are a great performer they must be an awesome teacher is an easy mistake to make—-it is far more the exception than the rule.Remember you are looking for a great teacher. The teacher does not necessarily have to be a great performer, if they are, consider that you have received an added bonus.WHAT TO LOOK FOR?• A teacher with integrity• A teacher who loves to teach and is gifted to teach• A teacher who is qualified to teachWhat do you need to do before you begin your search?Do not be surprised if your prospective teacher asks you questions about your expectations… so be sure you know your goals and exactly what your expectations are.Answer the highest priority questions first. Narrow your list down to your top 3-5 goals and priorities.Now go ahead jump in and start your search!