Choosing the Right Teacher
Choosing a piano teacher is a highly personal decision. You want someone who will encourage you and help you develop a love for playing the piano. A good piano teacher is at once a friend, mentor, and teacher. With that in mind, here are some tips in selecting the best teacher for YOU (or your child):
1- Know what you’re looking for. You will not be able to find a teacher to match your needs, if you don’t take a few minutes and figure out what exactly you want in an instructor. Here are some questions to ask yourself before you begin your search: What do I hope to accomplish, or what do I hope for my child to accomplish, by taking lessons? What teacher qualifications are necessary to reach my goals for myself/my child? What additional qualifications would be ideal? What is my budget? What am I looking for in terms of time commitment/scheduling?
2- See the teacher in action. Set up an initial meeting with the prospective new teacher, and pay attention to any red flags that you or your child experience. You could choose the most capable, highly qualified, professional teacher on your list, but if you or your child is not receptive to the instructor, it will likely not be a good experience.
Regarding children: The student-teacher-parent triangle is extremely important to the long-term success of the student. I strongly encourage finding a teacher that is comfortable with the parent sitting in on an occasional lesson, especially in the beginning. I personally welcome this as parents get a first-hand view of my teaching methods, particularly the tricks I use to encourage and build confidence.
3- Make sure your teacher can actually play the piano. What are his/her qualifications? This seems like a no-brainer, but there are a lot of teachers out there who have very little skill at the piano. Some excuse it by saying they “only teach beginners,” but those beginning lessons are crucial! That first teacher has the power to either propel the student forward into loving and appreciating music for the rest of his life or discouraging him so badly, he will never touch a piano again.
The right teacher will foster a love of music, aid in continued, measurable progress, and motivate their students to want to become the best musicians they can be.
It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.
~ Albert Einstein