There are many fine piano teachers out there, and sometimes it can be hard to know what exactly you need in order to select the right one. Finding a piano teacher who is a good match for yourself or your child is essential if you want to be satisfied for the long-term with your lessons and get high-quality results. This article is designed to help you in this process. I hope it saves you from headache or confusion and helps you to find the piano instruction you are looking for!
Here are 8 mistakes to avoid when choosing a piano teacher:
1. Choosing a piano teacher based solely on price, rather than on quality of instruction. Many people are easily swayed by the prospects of working with a teacher who charges less money. Yet the reality is, the teacher’s cost does nothing to tell you how effective he or she will be at helping you or your child achieve the MUSICAL results that will really matter to you in the long run. Although a cheap teacher may be good for your wallet, a QUALITY teacher, even a more expensive one, will likely be better for you in achieving the best educational result. Of course, cost matters in many instances, yet remember, “you get what you pay for,” and sometimes quality costs more.
2. Choosing a piano teacher based solely on his or her credentials. Credentials are important, but also important is teaching ability, and the ability to relate with students. One question to ask yourself is, “What kind of rapport does this teacher create with his or her students? And does that suit me?” You can’t know this simply from reading a teacher’s credentials.
3. Choosing a piano teacher based solely on geography. Sure, physical convenience is important. Ideally, your teacher will be close by. Yet in some cases, the better teacher for you may not be next door. He or she may be 5, 10, or 15 minutes further away, yet the additional value you get from the extra time may be immeasurably rewarding.
4. Choosing a piano teacher based on familiarity. Although sometimes it is entirely appropriate to stay with a teacher you are familiar with, or to choose a teacher that your friends or family use solely for that reason, making a choice of teacher based entirely on this criteria can sometimes result in you getting less quality instruction, or a less quality match for yourself or your child. Again, a quality teacher is whoever a quality teacher is. He or she may not be someone you or your friends/family already have worked with. Sometimes you might have to do some digging. The key is to seek out quality.
5. Assuming that the one-on-one lesson is the best and only format for your lessons. Believe it or not, there are times in which a group lesson format may be better for you or your child. Sometimes, this format can help you learn better, by seeing other students learning, and by interacting with more people. There are also alternate formats, such as master classes, workshops, or pre-recorded presentations that can be equally informative and beneficial for the learning process. The traditional one-on-one piano lesson may not always be the best or only route for you to take.
6. Choosing a piano teacher without finding out whether his or her teaching style is suitable for your learning style. Some teachers are very regimented. Some are more spontaneous. Some focus on the classics, some more on jazz, pop, or a blend of these. Some only use method books, while others are more flexible. One way you can address this issue is to ask the prospective teacher what their musical specialty is and what, if any, method or methods they use.
7. Not auditioning and/or interviewing the teacher ahead of time. This is a great way to see if the teacher is a good match for you. If you do not do this, you may find yourself committing your time and money before you know who you are dealing with. If the teacher offers it, set up a free introductory lesson with the teacher so you can evaluate him or her before committing to the lessons.
8. Not knowing what you are looking for in a teacher. This is usually at the core of a lot of dissatisfaction for people with their piano instruction. As much as you can, try to get a clear idea of what you are looking for in a teacher. The clearer you are about this, the more likely you are to find it. Is your ideal teacher a classically-trained virtuoso? Is he or she a jazz master? Are you looking for one who can teach improvisation, who is creative? Are you looking for someone who is a great motivator? Or someone who makes learning FUN? Clarity about these things will help you immensely in your search.
No matter who you choose to study with, taking a little time now to think critically about what you are looking for in piano instruction will pay off in the future. It will help you better evaluate the kind of instruction you are currently considering, and give you a better idea of whether it really suits your needs best.
Are you ready to start achieving your piano-playing dreams? Are you tired of waiting? Get started today.