If you want piano lessons for beginners, you must consider several factors in order to make the best choice. When you search on Google you will find over 3 million results! How in the world do you know what is best?!? Let’s talk about it together!
All About You
First, you need to consider what kind of teacher suits you best for learning piano. Maybe you only want to be able to help your 5 year-old practice between lessons. If so, there is no sense in paying 3x the usual cost for a university level teacher!
What Is Your Goal in Learning Piano?
When I meet with a prospective student, I usually ask questions about his or her goal for lessons. With a young child this might just be a favorite song she likes to play. Or initially you might discuss the parents’ goals. However each year I revisit this topic with students and adjust our plans accordingly.
Sometimes students may say, “I want to be able to play a Chopin Nocturne.” Or, “I want to be able to play for my church services.” Other students may wish to prepare to teach beginning piano if needed.
Spend some time considering your goals and even write them down. This will help you when discussing music lessons with a prospective teacher. You can find out if that specific teacher can assist you in reaching those goals!
What Is Your Budget?
Your budget will be important in this choice as well. You need to have an idea of what range of cost you can afford for lessons, a piano, and books. As you do research online you will find that some teachers post their rates on their websites or Facebook pages. Knowing what you can afford will help you know who you should connect with first.
If you contact someone who replies with a higher rate than you can afford, don’t just ignore their response. Be polite enough to respond and just be honest. That way they know whether you are a potential customer or not!
What Is Your Schedule?
Your schedule will determine how much time you can dedicate to this effort. If your child is already in 4 other activities, now may not be the time to add piano lessons! Learning to play the piano takes dedicated work on a consistent basis. Practicing for 10 minutes once or twice a week will be only frustrate both the student and teacher!
Another time aspect to consider is how long it takes to drive to lessons. Are you willing to drive 30-60 minutes to a larger city where there may be more qualified teachers? Or would you rather sacrifice the quality of training for a nearby teacher?
Choose the Most Important Aspects
You will need to balance your goals, budget and schedule to determine what is most important to you. No one else will have exactly the same needs as you. What works for another family may not work for your family!
All About Your Teacher
After you have a good idea of what your needs are, then you must start researching teachers. Start looking for teachers within your desired driving distance. Remove teachers from your list who are not within the guidelines you established for yourself. Then start talking to other people who take music lessons and find out who they recommend. You can also check with music stores in the area to see if they have a list of local teachers.
Following are several important factors when getting to know a potential teacher. Remember that the teacher is also getting to know you. Be ready to answer questions in addition to asking them!
Can the Teacher Both Play AND Teach?
Does this teacher play the piano well? Have you heard him play in the past? If not, is he willing to play for you during the interview? You want to choose a teacher who you want to become like! If you don’t like her style of playing then you won’t be a good fit in her studio.
However, just because someone is an excellent pianist doesn’t mean he can teach well!!! Quite the contrary. A performer may know how to perform but not how to pass those traits on to a student. Someone who began learning piano at a young age can’t imagine not knowing about music. You want to look for someone who can bring lessons down to the beginning level in order not to frustrate your student.
Pace of Learning
You will also want to consider whether the teacher adjusts her pace of teaching for your student. She needs to get to know the student and what she can expect from him. Some teachers think that every student must pass a certain number of pieces per week. In doing so your student may miss understanding some concepts.
A student who practices twice a day 5 days a week will be able to proceed at fast pace at the beginning! However a student who only practices 3x a week will need to move more slowly.
Style of Teaching
If this teacher only teaches in an auditory way without visual aids he likely won’t be best for your visual learner. Teachers need to have an array of resources available so they can reach each student in the best way possible!
Look for a teacher who will find out how your student learns best. Then she will adjust her teaching methods to best suit each learner.
Connection with the Teacher
Music is a language! A teacher’s job is to help the student learn to express themselves in this language to the best of her ability. If there is no connection between the teacher and student, it will be difficult for them to speak the same language.
Try to choose a teacher you and your child can be comfortable with during each piano lesson. That doesn’t mean they have to be best buddies but just that the student won’t dread every lesson! Learning piano is certainly hard work. However, it should be an enjoyable process as you attain milestones along the way!
Make the Choice!
Choosing from various music teachers for beginning piano lessons can be difficult! Taking one step at a time and balancing what is most important to you will help you overcome the challenge. If you have any questions about this choice, email me anytime!