So, you’re thinking about piano lessons for either yourself or a youngster in the family. That’s a good thing. The joys and rewards that go hand in hand with a musical journey are endless. But you haven’t made the move yet. Decisions, decisions, decisions. With all the music studios and private teachers out there, how do you arrive at the best choice? Choosing a piano teacher for your needs can seem like a roll of the dice.
Actually, making the right choice doesn’t have to be a gamble. Though it’s true that the instructor you opt for initially doesn’t necessarily have to be your choice for the long haul (it’s a free country), you can indeed approach the matter from a rather intelligent perspective and increase your chances for long-term success the first time.
When you want answers, ask questions. It’s as simple as that. In other words, don’t take for granted that if a person labels himself or herself a piano teacher, that individual will necessarily be the right one for the job. So often, people will pick up the yellow pages (or do an Internet search), find the music studio that’s closest to home or lowest in price, and base their decision on such factors. Unfortunately, many of these same people learn a short time later that those lessons weren’t what they chalked up to be. Often, the student quits and uses that experience to base the decision to never pursue lessons again. That’s a shame.
Not every teacher is perfect for every student. What you really need to consider is whether or not your prospective piano teacher is a match for both your personality (or that of your son’s or daughter’s) and whether or not that instructor has flexibility when it comes to adapting to specific needs. You can increase your odds of making a perfect match by having a discussion with that teacher in advance. As an option, you can commit to one lesson and use that time to feel things out so that you can make the determinations you need to.
When you are finally in this teacher’s presence or you find yourself engaged in a telephone conversation, ask yourself this question for starters: “Outside of what this person has to offer in the way of a musical education, how will this person positively influence me (or my youngster)?” It’s a powerful question to ask yourself that can lead you toward making a profound decision. Remember, this is a person that will be corresponded with on a regular basis. It’s a bit different than ordering a pizza, for example, where you place your order, have it delivered, and enjoy the food. Whether or not the delivery person was friendly or not, the transaction is over and you can reap the rewards of your order (though, it’s nice when you’re served with a smile, yes?). With a piano teacher, you’ll be dealing with this person on a regular basis. Establishing a good rapport is essential. Also, the manner in which this person adapts to your learning style will greatly affect your experience, one way or another.
Let’s say that you are an adult who has never taken a piano lesson in your life (or perhaps you had a tiny bit of experience at some point). You have a life of your own that consists of certain obligations. You’ve entertained the idea of getting involved with piano lessons but you have reservations based on what you’ve heard about them: discipline, constant practice, demands from the teacher, etc. With all these thoughts, no wonder it’s so easy to talk yourself out of making that call. Believe it or not, it doesn’t have to be that way. That does not have to be your reality. Connecting with a piano teacher who specializes in dealing with such situations can really have you discovering pretty quickly that piano lessons can actually be a terrific source of relaxation for you… a great channel of freedom… a way to express yourself that you never did previously. Yes, such a piano instructor exists.
Also ask yourself, “Is this teacher I am considering going to make this experience fun? Or overwhelming? Is his/her mannerism rather abrupt or demanding? Is my reason for wanting to getting started with piano lessons really being respected?” There is a lot you can learn from one conversation.
If you are an individual who does have some experience with playing piano and aspires to enhance your skills with the goal of perhaps playing cocktail music in a public environment, do you feel that it would benefit you to have a classically trained teacher who has never improvised a chorus of Erroll Garner’s Misty? If that person has never done it, how can you expect him or her to show you how? Likewise, if you would like to have fun with playing chord piano and want to explore pop piano or jazz improvisation, that type of teacher probably isn’t going to serve your needs very well at all.
Once you have opted to give it a go, it will be great to remain optimistic about this adventure and if you feel that you would like to continue with this person as your teacher for a while, then enjoy the journey. That said, if things don’t go the way you would have liked them to and communicating your issues with this person doesn’t change matters, don’t make the decision to not continue because of one experience. Take the initiative to locate another teacher more suitable to your situation. By this time, you’ll have a better handle on what you are looking for and you will feel more confident when it comes to asking the right questions. Eventually, you will be sure to locate that special individual who will serve you for the long term, which is what you ultimately want.
In addition to asking yourself questions like those mentioned, you will want to ask the instructor a few as well. For some help with this, visit here.