How do you find a piano teacher? I suggest a structured piano teacher interview process. Word of mouth is a great start. However, ask several people, and find out why they recommend that teacher. You can do a Google search, though you’re likely to find more information about schools than individual teachers.
Once you’ve narrowed down your choice of teachers, schedule an evaluation 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. When a new college student decides where to attend music school, taking a lesson with a prospective professor is part of the process. Why shouldn’t you do the same thing? On the flip side, some teachers require this evaluation lesson before admitting a new student to their studio. It’s a two-way street: While you are trying to find the best teacher for your objectives, the teacher is interested in finding a student who meshes with her teaching style.
Ask for the teacher’s qualifications, which include not only their degree(s) but their relevant experience. Ask how long have they been teaching, and what level of students they typically teach or prefer to teach. Are you a parent with a very young child? Ask the teacher if he specializes in early childhood education. 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, 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? This is important to focus the student on an end goal. Does the teacher participate in the annual Piano Guild exams and/or in the National Music Teachers Association? I am partial to the latter since they offer two different annual festivals where I live in NW Arkansas. These opportunities may or may not be important to you, depending upon your objectives for taking lessons.
This is the advice I would give 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.