Word of Mouth
How do you go about finding a piano teacher? I suggest word of mouth! It’s a great place to start. In fact, ask several people, and find out why they recommend that teacher. Using Google search can also be helpful, but it’s more likely that you will find music schools instead of individual teachers.
Once you’ve narrowed down your choice of teachers, schedule a trial lesson with your top choice(s). Teachers should welcome this opportunity to meet with you, though you should be prepared to pay for the lesson. This is how it’s often when a serious music student applies to a university or conservatory of music. It’s beneficial for both parties!
Whether this is the student’s first piano lesson, or the student has recently moved and is looking for a new teacher, scheduling a trial lesson is a smart idea. Before committing to a new teacher, you want to get a glimpse into her teaching style. On the flip side, many teachers want to get to know both a prospective student and his parents. A good teacher knows that she can be successful in teaching most, but not all students. There are a variety of reasons why a teacher and a student may not be a good fit. It’s best to discover them at a trial lesson versus several weeks into the semester.
Ask for the teacher’s qualifications. While a college degree might be preferable, you’re also looking for teaching experience and success with former and current students. Ask the teacher not only how long he has been been teaching, but what level of students he typically teaches or prefer to teach.
Teaching preschoolers is very different from teaching school-aged children. If you have a very young child interested in lessons, does the teacher have a specialty in early childhood education? Does she have the instruments and a curriculum established for teaching those students?
Is your child a young prodigy or a very advanced student? Ask the teacher how she has worked with such a student in the past. If you are an adult student, finding the right teacher to keep you motivated is important since attrition is much higher in adults than with children.
Find out what performing opportunities are available. Is there a recital at the end of each semester, as well as more informal opportunities to perform? Does the teacher participate in an association, such as Piano Guild or the National Music Teachers Association? These organizations provide teachers with continuing education and school-aged children with additional performance and evaluation opportunities.
What Are Your Questions?
Bottom line: Make sure you ask the questions that are important to you. You are making an important investment in your child’s education. Make sure that your prospective teacher’s goals align with yours for your child.
Hopefully you now know more about finding a piano teacher. This is what I would recommend my own family and friends if they were seeking a piano teacher. If you’d like to read more, here’s an article from the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) on the subject. I wish you success in finding a teacher that will help you meet your goals for years to come!