Piano lessons are a rite of passage for many children. Your child’s success with piano lessons can depend in large part upon her teacher. What are some features to look for when selecting a piano teacher?
What Is the Piano Teacher’s Philosophy?
Interview the teacher, either in person or by phone. What type of approach does she use? Is she strict about music theory and history, or does she have a more casual, “let’s just have fun” demeanor? Does the teacher emphasize classical music, popular tunes or a mixture?
Either type of teacher can be a good fit depending on your child’s personality and goals. The teacher you would select for a budding child piano prodigy may be different from the teacher you choose for a child who just wants to have some fun playing a Disney tune.
What Do Other Parents Say?
If possible, talk to some other parents whose children study with the teacher you’re considering. Are their children enjoying lessons with this teacher? Does he relate well with children (being an excellent musician doesn’t necessarily equate to being a great teacher)? Is he easy to work with if lessons need to be rescheduled?
What Does This Teacher Require?
When you talk with the teacher, ask about expectations. How much practice time does she recommend daily? Do her students participate in recitals and/or competitions? If so, are these mandatory or elective?
What Will This Cost?
Piano lessons, since they are usually private, are generally more expensive than group lessons in dance, gymnastics, or other interest areas. Make sure you can afford the cost of lessons in your budget, as well as expenses for music your child will need.
If private lessons seem too pricey, check into group lessons, which are often available at local colleges and some music studios. The cost for these is usually much less than individual lessons. For most children, group lessons can be a cheaper way of determining whether your child has a lasting interest in piano.
Where is the Piano Teacher Located?
It may seem insignificant, but consider the location of the piano teacher. A 40-minute commute will quickly become cumbersome, particularly in winter months. Over the weeks and months, you will come to appreciate a nearby piano teacher. Keep the stress on your family low by choosing a teacher who lives reasonably close.
Can You Observe Lessons?
Ask the teacher whether you can listen in on a lesson. This can give you a lot of insight into a teacher’s methods, style and personality. There may be things the teacher is trying to emphasize which you were clueless about, simply because your child didn’t mention them. It can be enlightening to see a teacher at work. It can also help you gauge whether or not this teacher-student relationship is working well.
At the same time, most teachers would not appreciate parents listening in for each lesson. This can be disruptive to the teacher, and many children perform better with their parents out of the room. Don’t insist on being present for lessons on a regular basis.
Music is a wonderful part of life. By taking time to select a teacher who is compatible with your child, you are increasing your child’s chances of having a positive experience in studying piano.
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