Find the Piano Teacher Right for You
No matter what level you or your child may be, finding the right piano teacher is very important if you want to advance. If you are brand new to the piano, your excitement of learning a new instrument may turn to disappointment if you don’t find the teacher that is able to meet you where you are, both as a budding musician and a student. Follow these simple steps to ensure that the piano teacher you hire is a good fit.
Teacher vs. Player
Don’t fall into the trap of believing that a great player will also be a great teacher. This simply isn’t true. In fact, it is very rare that a professional player will also be a good instructor. Teaching is another art form in itself.
Instead, look for someone who truly enjoys the teaching aspect. He or she will be a people person who has patience and a love for the craft. A good teacher does not do it simply as an income source, but because he or she loves to learn and help others learn.
There is only one way to find out if your prospects will be a good fit: research. Teachers of any sort should always be open to explaining their teaching style, basic theories, and ideology. They should also be willing to provide some testimonials and/or references from current or former students. If not, walk away.
Your research will, of course, include their background, schooling, and talents. It should also include questions about why they do what they do and how long they’ve done it. Ensure that they do have a curriculum – ask what books they use and what levels they prefer to teach.
Once you’ve narrowed down the candidates to one or two that you feel meet your needs, set up an interview or introductory lesson session with each. This will give you a chance meet the person face-to-face and see if you get along. Of course this is important, because you will be spending a lot of time with your new piano teacher!
You definitely want someone who knows how to communicate with you effectively. Ask about teaching style. Are you a visual or audio person? Do you learn better by doing or by watching? Do you prefer praise over critique, or do you find corrections on the fly helpful? Do you like a warm, touchy personality or someone who is all business? Only you can answer these questions for yourself. Once you do, find a piano teacher that fits your needs.
Each instructor is different. Do not apologize for interviewing more than one before you find the one that works.
Work Out the Details
Once you’ve chose the piano teacher that you feel will encourage and engage you or your child, discuss the mechanics of where you’ll meet. The instructor may have a studio, or s/he may come to your home. If you are going to them, ensure that the environment is comfortable for you. What type of piano will you be learning on, and what piano will you practice on at home? If you do not have a piano at home, ask questions about keyboards or other options for practice.
Consistency will catapult your growth as a player. Make sure your piano teacher has a slot open for you at a day or two a week and a time that works for you both. Then, stick to that schedule.
Finding the perfect fit for you or your child does involve a little bit of prep work, but it is definitely worth it. When you find the right piano teacher, you will also find that learning to play the piano is more fun and a lot easier.
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