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Introduction to Selecting
a Piano Teacher

Rule number one: DO NOT SELECT A TERRIFYING PIANO TEACHER. Would you select a terrifying restaurant to eat at? Would you insist on a psychotic salesman when purchasing a car? Would you only feel comfortable hiring a knife-yielding real estate agent when purchasing a house? Then why on Earth would you study from a terrifying, mean piano teacher?

We at pianolessons101 feel that a piano teacher should be patient, informative and fun. A wise teacher will make a half hour lesson feel like five minutes. A miserable teacher will make a piano lesson feel like a jail term (with no chance of parole). A wise teacher will be open to different teaching approaches for different students. A miserable teacher has one approach for all students: “My way or my way”.

A teacher should cover the basics without making the lesson boring. This is not an easy task. There is a delicate balancing act between covering the basics and over-covering the basics. For example, many teachers insist on covering every piece of music in a grade book. I can’t think of a better way to make a student quit! Good teachers give you choices of compositions to learn. It’s up to you to decide which piece of music you like. A teacher will teach you the fundamentals and introduce you to different styles of compositions, but a teacher cannot tell you what to like and what not to like. You should ultimately be given that choice, no matter what age or level.

Although there are exceptions, most teachers that you study with should be able to play the piano impressively. Nothing is more of a turnoff than watching a piano teacher fumble through a piece that he or she is trying to demonstrate to you. In a way, a teacher that messes up a piece of music can actually be a rather amusing scenario, except for the fact that YOU ARE PAYING FOR THE LESSON! It’s a lot cheaper to get your amusement from a movie matinee. The bottom line is that you should find a teacher whom you admire and are inspired by. Teachers are, after all, mentors. As a final tip, some credentials (teaching certificates) and references are always a good idea.


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