A good piano instructor can help your child (or you!) become more confident, creative, disciplined, and not to mention a great piano player. They exhibit certain qualities that enable a student to become a skilled and engaging pianist in less time.
However, as easy as it may seem, finding an accomplished piano teacher can be a tricky business. Sometimes, aspiring pianists are not aware of what distinguishes good piano teachers from bad ones, and thus, they are never able to pick the right instructor for their child or themselves.
But not anymore!
In this article, we’ll walk you through the best traits that constitute a good piano teacher, pros and cons of hiring a piano teacher, rookie mistakes to avoid when choosing a piano teacher, and tips and tricks to help you find a great piano teacher near you.
This guide also covers the top reasons to teach your child piano, the appropriate age to start piano lessons, how fast they can learn to play the piano, and ways to motivate your child to play music.
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What Are the Benefits of Learning the Piano?
- 1Relieves Stress
Playing any form of musical instrument serves as a perfect stress buster, and so does playing the piano. It can take your mind off your problems and relax you instantly. When playing the piano, you feel more positive and cheerful.
- 2Encourages Creativity
You can play so many forms of music on the piano. This gives way to exploring and creating your own music. The best thing is there’s no limit when it comes to playing music on the piano. You can compose new, original songs and rhythms and improve your piano-playing ability.
- 3Strengthens Hand Muscles
The correct hand postures and positions are important learning aspects of piano lessons. Using the proper hand posture and position makes your arms stronger. Your fingers and hands remain strong for the rest of your life, even when you become old and weak.
- 4Boosts Self-Confidence
Learning to play the piano is a great way to boost your self-esteem. You are exposed to advanced vocabulary that helps you learn new words which stimulate your brain. If you introduce piano to your kids from an early age, they learn to develop reading comprehension faster than their peers. All in all, they become more skilled and talented, and this helps them become more confident.
- 5Makes You More Open to Criticism
When you learn to play the piano, you receive both positive and constructive criticism. This is extremely useful for children as it prepares them for the practical world. They will learn to be more open to criticism and will realize that they can only better themselves if they work on their shortcomings.
Please note that not everyone takes criticism in their stride, but if you are taught to be receptive to criticism, which piano learning does, you will see a vast improvement in your personality.
Should I Get a Piano Teacher? Pros and Cons
- 1Consistent Learning and Practice
One of the major reasons why most people choose to learn the piano from a professional teacher is because they keep the practice going in a consistent manner.
If you struggle with time management, learning piano on your own can be difficult for you. There’s a greater chance you won’t be as steady with your piano lessons as you may be otherwise when learning from a teacher.
A piano teacher will hold you accountable for the accuracy of your practice. When you learn piano on your own, it’s easy to let those small mistakes slide by, or worse, to not learn from your failures at all. This can come in your way of learning the piano accurately and stop you from achieving your end goal.
- 3Provide an Answer to Your Unique Questions
If you’re a curious learner, you will definitely have a lot of questions to ask about piano playing. Sure, Google can be a great resource to get all kinds of information. But sometimes, your queries are too personal to find their answers readily available online. This is a gap that a well-trained and experienced teacher can help fill in.
Having a real teacher by your side can help you put all the musical pieces of the puzzle together in an instant.
- 4Offer You an Individualized Approach
With so many piano learning techniques online, it can be quite overwhelming to choose one. This can be more complex for young children willing to learn the piano on their own.
However, a piano teacher can help you find the best approach to learn the piano without having you to go through the arduous task of choosing an approach by yourself.
- 1Can’t Learn Piano at Your Own Pace
If you like to dance to your own tunes, you won’t enjoy someone else dictating you how to go about your piano practice. You won’t be able to go just as fast or as slow as you want to, and the lack of flexibility while learning piano may ruffle your feathers.
- 2May Not Enjoy Piano Playing That Much
Learning piano from a teacher may take the fun out of piano playing, especially if their approach is boring and manual.
Most online piano lessons are designed to be more fun and engaging so that learners stay focused during their piano lessons. However, the same can’t be said about piano teachers who can be dull in the way they teach piano.
Private piano lessons can be quite costly. If you hire a qualified teacher for regular lessons or practice, it can cost you $100 to $200 per month (or even more). Most middle-income families can’t afford to hire private piano teachers as a result.
- 4Just Lessons
Traditional private lessons are restricted to providing you with lessons only. On the contrary, online lessons are more than just that. They have learning games, instructional videos, playing old and new songs, and whatnot. With a traditional piano teacher, you probably won’t get a chance to explore additional materials.
What Age Should Children Start Piano Lessons?
Let us put it out there – there’s no particular age for learning piano. You will find examples of children who started playing the piano as early as 3, but that’s a rare case.
However, the best age to learn piano is between the ages of 6 – 9-year-olds. If your child, younger than 6, shows interest in piano, it doesn’t mean you sign them up for piano classes. You should let your child explore and have fun with the piano. Let them be active and curious, and once they reach the right age, they can be enrolled in piano classes.
Kids who start as late as 10 or 12 grow up to become professional pianists as well. So, this is a good age to begin exploring and learning piano playing.
How Long Does It Take to Get Good at Piano?
Again, there’s no particular answer to this. It varies from person to person, depending on the practice and competency level of the learner.
To be a good piano player, you have to be curious and dedicated. The more you practice, the better you become at playing the piano, and this can help you become a better piano player. To master a technique, it takes about 12 weeks. This is achievable if you practice 10 minutes a day for 5 – 6 days a week. This doesn’t mean you skip 5 days and practice an hour on the last day. You have to be consistent with your piano playing technique to be a good player.
When it comes to determining how long it takes to play songs on the piano, it can be tricky to answer. It depends on how easy or difficult songs you’re learning to play. Generally, playing songs on the piano takes about 6 months. You will need to practice for about 20 minutes for 5 to 6 days a week. Also, you will need to practice with a specific tactic such as breaking songs into sections or focusing on easier songs first than the complex ones, etc. One of the biggest mistakes people make when playing the piano is not following small details.
What Makes a Good Piano Teacher?
- 1They Should Be Patient
Patience is a virtue that very few teachers possess and those who possess are truly remarkable ones. Learning piano is not simple and straightforward. It takes a lot of time, effort, and patience to master the art of piano playing. A frustrated teacher can be discouraging and prevent beginners from partaking in their musical endeavors. However, a patient teacher will inspire you to work harder and better.
- 2They Must Be Passionate
Piano teachers that are passionate about music never cease to inspire their students. They are exemplary in ways they teach piano and never give up on their learners. In fact, they are enthusiastic about their students learning to play the piano and do their best to teach them everything that is needed to help them become good piano players.
- 3They Are Highly Skilled and Experienced
A well-versed pianist with adequate piano experience is the perfect combination to seek in a piano teacher.
A highly qualified teacher will know the best individualized technique to teach piano to their students. They will also be skilled enough to describe and demonstrate complex concepts to their students in the easiest way possible. If a piano teacher doesn’t possess the technical ability to show the correct finger positioning or posturing, it’s hard to consider them “the best” out there.
- 4Maintain a Healthy Balance of Fun and Discipline
An utterly boring and serious piano teacher can be any learner’s nightmare. However, what makes a piano teacher so inspiring is that they are disciplined and equally fun!
An inspiring piano teacher knows how to make learning fun and upbeat. They make sure their lessons are fun and engaging to ensure learners look forward to their lessons every week. Having said that, good piano teachers are also aware of the fact that you can’t learn the piano without being 100% focused and attentive. So, they have an intuitive ability to add a serious element to piano lessons when necessary.
- 5Cater to Different Learning Styles
One of the best qualities of a good piano teacher is that they are adaptive to different learning styles. Not every learner is the same – one may be an auditory learner while the other a tactile one.
A good piano teacher chooses a learning style based on their learner. They are always ready to customize their teaching methods or lessons that are easy to understand by their learner.
- 6They are Communicative
Effective communication is key to any lesson. A piano teacher that can communicate clearly and openly to their students is able to foster an honest relationship with them. If their learners are facing problems with a certain lesson, they can easily confide in them. Both the teacher and learner will be on the same page as a result.
What are the Biggest Mistakes People Make When Choosing a Piano Teacher?
- 1Only Looking at a Teacher’s Credentials
Just because a teacher has graduated from a so and so college or university doesn’t guarantee they are the best choice out there. There’s a host of other factors to consider such as what other students think of that specific teacher, what their past students have achieved, their teaching criteria, passion for teaching or music and the likes. You should also check whether the teaching style of that particular teacher matches your child’s temperament and learning ability.
- 2Choosing a Teacher Who Prefers Only One Type of Music
Unless your goal isn’t to learn a specific music genre, it doesn’t make sense why you would want to choose a teacher, preferring only one kind of music. A pianist should know how to play a variety of songs with different notes and keys as this can help them be a jack of all trades. But if the teacher is focused on teaching only a specific type of music, it can limit the capabilities of the pianist by a large margin.
- 3Hiring a Teacher with A Lot of Students
This can be tempting to do since everyone wants to learn from the most popular teacher. But hiring a teacher with too many students is not always the best choice.
With so much high-demand, it can be hard for the teacher to devote their full-time attention to each student. Therefore, you should hire a teacher who doesn’t have their hands full.
- 4Choosing a Teacher You Don’t Like
Learning music should be enjoyable. If you are not enjoying your piano lessons, and that too because of your teacher or their teaching style, you should consider hiring another tutor.
- 5Selecting a Teacher with Different Goals from Yours
if your goal is to learn to play along with the church choir, you don’t need to hire a teacher who specializes in teaching classical solo songs. You should always ask them about their specialization before hiring them.
What Are the Best Tips for Finding a Good Piano Teacher Near Me?
- 1Consider Your Goals First
Different people learn piano for different purposes. You can determine which teacher will be suitable for your needs on the basis of your goals. For instance, if you’re a beginner that wants to learn piano from scratch, look for a teacher that caters to beginners specifically. However, if you have the know-how of basic piano skills and want to jump to advanced learning, look for piano teachers in that range.
- 2Consider the Type of Lessons You’re Interested In
There are quite a few lesson formats such as private home lessons, music schools, group learning etc. You need to look for the format that suits your comfort and needs level and go ahead with it.
- 3Ask for Recommendations
Once you have figured out your goals and expectations, go ahead and ask for teacher recommendations from those you trust – friends, colleagues, family, etc. it’s best to ask for suggestions from someone who has learned piano from someone and plays supremely well.
- 4Research Online
There’s no better way to research than on the internet. It has all sorts of information available. You can easily search for the pianists recommended by your loved ones. Visit their website or social media page if they have one.
Check out what kind of feedback they have received. If possible, send a private message to those who have given their feedback online. This way, you will learn more about the teacher and whether or not you want to hire them.
- 5Interview the Teacher
Before hiring a teacher, it’s best to interview them first. This will give you a deeper insight into their personality. Try to ask them about topics such as what their teaching style or material is, what certifications do they possess, what skill sets they focus on developing in their students, and the likes.
You can also ask them for their references to check whether or not they hold enough teaching experience. All of this will help you determine if the teacher is worth hiring.
How Do I Encourage My Child to Continue with Piano Lessons?
- 1Make Practice Fun
Don’t be afraid to get creative with your piano lessons. Include a variety of games into practice. Since kids love games, chances are they won’t get bored. In fact, they will look forward to their piano lessons every week.
Make sure that at the end of each lesson, there’s some reward for the child so that they don’t run away from their practice.
- 2Encourage Your Child as Much as You Can
No matter how many times your child makes a mistake, don’t scold them or lash out at them. This will discourage them from playing the piano all together. Appreciate them even if they make little progress. Give them a pat on their back!
- 3Help Them Feel Connected
Your child will enjoy playing music more if they find it engaging. This can be made possible by letting them choose the type of song they want to learn on the piano or the genre of music they want to explore. Give them options, so they choose what they want to and enjoy the process all the while!
- 4Create Challenges
If your child is inherently competitive or loves to participate in challenges, make sure you create enticing challenges for them so that they enjoy learning the piano. However, make sure the challenges are according to your child’s abilities. If a challenge is too difficult to accomplish, your child will lose interest in playing the piano.
- 5Find the Right Teacher
If your child doesn’t like their piano teacher, they won’t enjoy their piano lessons. Make sure the teacher you inevitably choose is friendly. They should also be helpful and patient. All of this will help your child to impatiently wait for their next piano lesson.
In this article we provided you with all the necessary information you’ll need to find a good piano instructor near you. Keep in mind the tips for choosing the best piano teacher and avoid making common mistakes when hiring one. Follow these two aspects and you’ll be well on your way to getting the best piano lessons near you – and becoming the next Mozart ;)!