How do you find a piano teacher? I suggest a piano lessons interview process. Word of mouth is a great start. Ask several people, and find out why they recommend that teacher. It’s a little tougher finding the right teacher through a Google search, since you’re more likely to find out about music schools than individual teachers.
Once you’ve narrowed down your choice of teachers, schedule a 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 done 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 consultation 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 require the consultation lesson. A good teacher knows that she can be successful in teaching most, but not all students. I have sometimes found a student might not be ready from an attention or motor skills perspective. Or, the student might want to study in an area where I don’t have expertise, such as jazz improvisation.
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 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 are great for teachers and also provide additional performance opportunities for school-aged kids. Make sure you ask the questions that are important to your goals.
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. I wish you success in finding a teacher that will help you meet your goals for years to come!