The Studio of Sharon B. Girard, NCTM

Choosing a Teacher

When looking for a teacher, the first question many people ask is "How much do you charge?" In fact, that probably should be one of the last questions to ask.
Professional service providers such as doctors, lawyers, hairdressers and barbers must be credentialed and licensed to ply their trade. Unfortunately, this isn't true for private music teachers. Anyone can place an ad or build a website and solicit business. So, while you can rely on the government to protect you from unqualified doctors, lawyers, etc, you must confirm the qualifications of a private music teacher on your own.
To the right are some questions you should ask a teacher you are considering. If you are not completely comfortable with the answers you receive, then you should look further until you find a teacher that is suitable.

To see Sharon Girard's response to many of the questions, click on the question and the answer will appear. When you are finished, click on the question again to hide the answer text!

  • Do you have a formal degree in music?
    • Yes, I have a Bachelor of Science Degree in Music Education from Western Connecticut State University. My major instrument was piano.
  • If not, do you have a degree in a related field, like education?
    • See my answer above.
  • Do you have an advanced degree?
    • Absolutely. I hold a Masters Degree in Music Education from the Hartt School, University of Hartford. My major instrument was piano.
  • What other qualifications and credentials do you have, and how often do you have to renew them?
    • I am an MTNA Nationally Certified Teacher of Music - Piano, and have been for over 20 years. Recently I was elevated to Permanent Professional status. For more information on the NCTM process, please visit the MTNA website.
  • Are your credentials verifiable?
    • I have framed diplomas and certificates hanging in the studio, and I can provide contact information at the universities and MTNA should you wish to confirm my credentials.
  • Do you belong to any professional organizations, and if so, are you an active member?
    • I am an active member of Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) and the Hartford Chapter of the Connecticut State Music Teachers Association (CSMTA).
  • How do you keep current on instructional materials and methods.
    • I regularly attend workshops presented by the music publishing houses, attend annual conferences of CSMTA and MTNA, and have a professional relationship with a number of composers, authors and clinicians.
  • How long have you been teaching this instrument as a private teacher?
    • I have been teaching piano professionally for over 40 years. In fact, some of my former students are now themselves degreed private teachers.
  • Do you have written policy covering tuition and fees, attendance, makeup lessons and instructional materials?
    • Yes. If you are interested in a copy, please contact me.
  • Do your students have the opportunity to participate in recitals and other programs both within and external to your studio?
    • Studio recitals are an expectation of all non-adult students. Also, all of the programs sponsored by CSMTA and MTNA are optionally available to every student.
  • Have you ever been arrested or terminated from a position?
    • No, not even a parking ticket!
Copyright ..., Sharon B. Girard, NCTM - All Rights Reserved