Looking for a piano teacher can be a challenging task. With this in mind, I thought it would be good to put together some helpful tips for you. Here are some important things for you to consider:
Being a good performer doesn’t necessarily make a person a good teacher.
When I was in high school, I began taking lessons with a woman who graduated from Manhattan School of Music. For those of you not familiar with this school, they rank as one of the top 10 best music schools in the United States.
I was very excited to take lessons from her. I had no doubt that someone who played at such a high caliber could teach me so many things. My lessons seemed to start off well with her. She was giving me some pretty difficult music to work on each week. I would come to the next lesson and play everything that she gave to me.
The moment of truth came during one of my lessons when I was a few months into it. One of my biggest weaknesses at that point was my sightreading. Because I had good technique, I really didn’t struggle with playing things quickly.
I realized that my sightreading ability was not improving and I decided to tell my teacher. To this day, I still can’t believe her response. After sharing my thoughts with her, she put some music in front of me to sightread. I clumsily pushed through the music but I was going very slow.
After bombing a few sightreading pieces, she told me that she really couldn’t help me with my sightreading. Suffice it to say, she wasn’t my teacher much longer. Just because she was a great performer didn’t mean that she was the best teacher.
Is this teacher a person who can adequately help you reach your goals?
Whether it’s verbalized or not, every student has goals and expectations. For instance, some students are looking to make piano playing a hobby. Others are much more serious and want to play professionally. There are also those who want to learn the piano so they can play chords. Reading music is not important to them.
It’s important to talk with your teacher about these kinds of things before ever starting lessons. It will potentially save a lot of heartache down the road.
Is the teacher’s lesson price reasonable given their location and level of expertise?
Price is often difficult to nail down because teachers in different markets vary in price. Generally speaking, you will pay more for private lessons when you live close to a big city. For those of us who live outside big cities, lessons are not the only thing that is more expensive!
You can expect to pay less for a college student who is giving lessons for some extra money than a person who works or has worked as a professional musician. Obviously, the professional has much more to offer and that is why they can charge more. It’s not unusual to pay $100 or more for an hour lesson with a high caliber musician.
Again, this is where you need to assess what kind of teacher you need. If you want to really excel and be challenged, you will most likely pay more.
Are you looking for a teacher who teaches in a music studio, comes to your home, or gives online lessons?
Studio lessons have been the most popular way of teaching lessons along with teachers who will come to your home. There are advantages and disadvantages to both. Most recently, as technology has progressed, online piano lessons have been on the rise.
I’ve been teaching piano lessons the traditional way for over 20 years. Just this year, I decided to make the transition to teaching online piano lessons and I absolutely love it…and so do my students! Rather than rehash the typical way of teaching, let’s dig in a little and look at online lessons.
Learning to play the piano online has many benefits. Just to name a few:
- You never have to leave your house!
- You don’t need to fight traffic or bad weather.
- You are not limited by location when choosing a teacher.
- Your lessons are recorded so that you can access them at any time.
Still not sure how it all works. I teach my students using Skype. All my students need is a laptop or tablet with a webcam and a good wifi signal. I teach the student as if I was standing next to them. I have 2 webcams so that my students can see my hands and my face. It really works great!
In fact, if you are interested in online lessons, I offer a free no-strings-attached lesson to anyone who is interested in giving it a try. You are welcome to visit my website at www.reynoldspiano.com or contact me at www.reynoldspiano.com/contact.
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