1. What are you trying to achieve?
Nothing will be more frustrating for your search than not having a goal in mind – it’s not really fair for a teacher to guess at what you want to learn from them or you might find yourself with a teacher who doesn’t teach what you want to learn.
- How much time are you able to commit to practicing?
- Are you in need of more lesson time to keep you accountable? every week vs. 2-3 lessons a week?
- What style music and level of performance are you trying to achieve.
If you know the answers to these questions then your teacher will be able to provide better instruction.
2. Ask around
There are several piano studios that C.J.’s Pianos works with and we’re happy to refer you to them based on location and lesson style you’re looking for. In addition to us, your friends, colleges and schools are often able to provide knowledgeable suggestions on local teachers. Many performance venues and religious institutions also have great leads on quality teachers.
3. Meet some teachers
Interviewing potential teachers is essential in deciding if they’ll be a good fit for you or your child. You’ll want to interview prospects in person, and ideally in the location at which the lessons will take place. When interviewing, focus on questions both general, like their overall teaching philosophy, as well as specific questions about their qualifications, expectations and methods.
Ask them about themselves:
- What experience do you have in teaching?
- Do you teach multiple instruments? (In our experience, it usually works out best to find instructors who specialize in an instrument.)
- What are your credentials and educational background?
- Do you teach full time? Are you a student yourself?
- What ages do you teach?
- Do you hold recitals during the year?
- Which instructional materials do you use? How and why did you choose them?
- How do you evaluate a student’s progress?
- How much practice time do you suggest or require of your students?
- What kind of music do you assign to your students? How do you choose what music gets assigned?
- Do you have additional opportunities for students who would like to perform often or become more involved in music?
- Have any of your students achieved a high level of musical success?
- How much do you charge for lessons and how does your billing process work?
- How long is each lesson, and when and where will they be held?
- What do you expect of parents?
4. Don’t be afraid to keep looking
If you don’t find the right piano teacher immediately, continue your search. Just because things aren’t an immediate success doesn’t mean you have a bad teacher or you’re a bad student; different teachers need a good fitting student type as much as you need a teacher that’s a good fit. A professional instructor will understand and respect your decision to do what’s best for you or your child’s music education. The right teacher will foster a love of music, aid in continued, measurable progress, and motivate their students to want to become the best musicians they can be.