Non-accredited, private music schools are in nearly every city and town. If you need instruction suited to your individual needs, then you are better off with a private teacher who is not bound by terms of accreditation. Private music schools can work with you if you’re preparing for a performance, or if you have some other specific need.
Non-accredited schools serve an important support function to accredited school programs. Many students in accredited music programs also take weekly private lessons to help them in their accredited courses and programs.
There are far fewer music classes in public schools compared with years past. Many parents put their kids in private music schools so they can collect certificates of achievement from completing lesson books, and from recitals, in the hope that those certificates will help convince a college admissions officer that their kids have received an adequate arts education. Colleges will often consider music certificates from unaccredited schools because musical ability is easy to test, and nearly impossible to fake.
Most people decide which music school they or their kid will go to based on price, location and scheduling availability. Price is usually not a factor because no one wants to be the low-price leader in this business. When one school raises its price, it’s a signal to the others in the area to raise their prices as well.
If you’re a music school owner, teaching the same kinds of lessons from the same kinds of books as everyone else is the course of least resistance. Your Default Program is similar to the Default Program at the school up the road. For some schools, it’s a sales point. “We will prepare you to study music anywhere in the world.” Besides, if the auto-piloted customer is already at “yes,” then why complicate things?
Watch out for boilerplate music school websites. There are companies that sell websites for specific industry sectors with boilerplate web pages, articles and blog posts, so the business-owners don’t have to write anything. As a result, many music schools these days don’t bother to create their own original web content. That’s why if you search, “succeed at music lessons,” you’re likely to get several websites which all cover the same points, but in slightly different language.
From American Heritage Dictionary:
boilerplate – noun – Journalistic material, such as syndicated features, made available by agencies in a form that is already typeset, originally in plate form, for easy incorporation into publications such as newspapers. Also, hackneyed or conventional language, usually expressing a generally accepted viewpoint.
One piece of boilerplate text reads, “Make sure your teacher has completed the proper certifications.” The web designer who wrote that advice probably never taught music. The fact is many private school instructors have had training through accredited schools, and accredited methods, so they’re just as capable of teaching as instructors at accredited schools. In real life, whether or not your teachers completed their degrees doesn’t have much impact on your experience as a student. It has more to do with the ability and dedication of your teacher.
© 2019, 2020 Greg Varhaug