Hunting for a piano teacher can be a bit daunting. Will we get along? Can I afford their rates? Do they understand the way I learn? Are they flexible? Strict? Available? Really, it’s almost as mind-boggling as the dating scene. So here is our easy-to-follow checklist of things to ask your prospective teacher to check if they are indeed, the right piano teacher for you.
Who are you and how long have you been teaching?
This might seem basic, but there can be a huge difference between someone who has been teaching for decades and a university students from the con’ that’s looking to make some extra cash to buy textbooks – And both are completely valid options.
What style do you specialise in?
This is a big one. If you’re just looking to learn how to bash out some chords so you can play your favourite pop songs, then someone who specialises in Mozart Sonatas and the Bagatelle’s of Beethoven might not be your fit. Think about what you want to achieve – do you want to learn to play Classical Sonatas? Hanon Technique? Jazz? Chords? Improv? Disney tunes? European Polkas? There are plenty of teacher who specialise in each, not many who specialise in all.
How much do you charge?
Your budget might be a determining factor. The range of prices you can pay for lessons will vary greatly between teachers. The fee a teacher charges might be influenced by things out of their control – such as if they are teaching from a hired studio. Some will charge more than others based on their experience and skills. Don’t use this as a ‘judgement’ on how ‘good’ a teacher is, just be conscious of your own budget and what you can afford.
What can you offer me?
How long are their lesson options? Do they put on student recitals? What about their teaching methods? That last one is best gauged by actually having a lesson. Have them tell you what a standard lesson will be like – as your first one might be a bit more ‘getting to know you’ than normal. This is also a good way to gauge if you get along. You’re going to sign yourself up to spending 30-60 minutes a week in a room with just this person – if you don’t enjoy their company, find someone else.
And really – the rest is up to you! Just like going to the gym – the progress will only happen if you are proactive at home between sessions. Ask yourself if you can commit to practising, if you’re willing to push through the ‘tough stuff’ to be able to do the ‘fun stuff’. If the answer is “yes”, then jump on the internet, ask around your socials or visit your local music store to find out who’s teaching in your area and get going. Happy hunting!