1. Do you have a DBS check?
Surprisingly, not a lot of parents actually ask this. Luckily, all of our tutors have had a recent Enhanced DBS check upon application to become a tutor for MJP Music Tuition. This sets them apart, as it isn’t currently mandatory for private teachers to have a check done.
They receive a paper certificate through the post that they can show you at your first meeting.
Types of DBS Checks
This check shows unspent convictions and conditional cautions.
This check shows spent and unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands and final warnings.
This check shows the same as a standard check plus any information held by local police that’s considered relevant to the role.
For more information, check out the government website.
2. When, where, how much?
It’s important to get a clear figure of how much it will cost for the lesson you are booking. Tutors normally charge more for travelling out to your location. If required, some tutors will also lend out instruments that are to be paid for monthly or per school term.
If you intend to pay with anything other than cash on the day, by cheque for example, it’s best to check that they accept that method of payment.
In summary, be sure to confirm the lesson length, date, time, place and price when you first speak to them.
3. When are you generally available to give lessons?
You will most likely agree on a lesson time with your tutor and stick to it, typically once a week. Some students have a changing work schedule and many tutors gig at weekends or have other work on during the week, so having a general idea of when they’re available is good to know if you ever need to rearrange a lesson in advance.
4. What is your policy regarding missed lessons and cancellations?
Every professional tutor will have a policy in place to make it clear as to what happens in these situations. Normally, 24 hours notice for any cancellation/lesson rearrangement is accepted. It’s always best to check though if you’re not sure. Things can happen at the last minute that mean you may not make it to your lesson on time or at all.
An ideal tutor would be fair to you with regards to situations that cannot be helped on your part, and perhaps do a make-up lesson later on in the week. Be expected to pay for any missed lesson though, especially if it’s been cancelled within 24 hours. These cancellation policies protect the tutor’s income and time, as they can’t give your lesson slot to anyone else if it’s too late.
5. What genres of music do you specialise in?
If you have been playing for some time and you are interested in exploring a specific style of music, then it’d be best to find out which genres your new tutor specialises in. Most tutors can cover the basics of many genres, however, to really explore a genre in depth, they need to specialise.
6. What is your teaching experience?
Teaching experience is listed on our tutor’s profiles, along with the number of years he/she has been teaching for. However, you may wish to ask about a specific age group, style of playing, grades, etc. if it isn’t shown on their profile.
7. Where will the lessons take place?
This is an obvious one, but do make sure to note down the exact address you will be going to for your lesson, or make sure that your tutor has yours if needs be. It’ll save time on the day.
Most teachers have a space in their home to give lessons, while some will hire a studio or teach in a room at a school, etc. Going to the tutor’s location is normally good for the student’s education; being in a different environment that is geared towards learning. Your tutor will also have easy access to all of their teaching materials at their place.
8. Do you have any references?
As part of the application process here at MJP Music Tuition, every tutor gives 2 referees for us to contact and retrieve relevant references. If you need more reassurance, you may wish to ask for your own before considering them for the job.
9. Do you play in a band?
A lot of musicians will gig and do session work as well as teach.
If you are especially interested in performance, then this is a good one to ask. When gigging regularly, your tutor will be able to advise you in all aspects of playing live; where to find band members, current venues to play, stage presence, etc.
Recording experience normally comes with this area as well. So again, if it’s something you’re interested in, don’t hesitate to ask. Performing live can be very rewarding, if a little nerve-wracking at first. It’s definitely worth pursuing!
10. Can I contact you through the week if I need to?
Some students occasionally need a little more support during the week outside of lessons. Most tutors will be fine with a quick message or email from a student who might be stuck on a particular thing. If you need to ask the odd question, it’s good to feel comfortable doing so.
One thing that can help is taking notes during the lesson. This can be tricky while trying to play an instrument (!), but it’s worth noting down the important points that you think you may forget afterwards.
Another great tip is asking the tutor if you can record them playing what you are learning. This could be a short video or just audio so that you can slow it down when you play it back, or ask them to play it slowly for you.
With all this in mind, if you are looking for an agency certified tutor, check them out below: