Wondering how to find the best piano teacher to suit your needs?
Here, I'll take you through three important evaluation questions to help you find the best piano teacher so your lessons can be as productive as possible.
As social distancing became the new norm for many of us this past year, I’ve been thinking about the different relationships that enrich our lives. Sure, I’m biased, but I think the student-teacher relationship can be a pretty meaningful one.
I’m a serious introvert, but nothing made me happier this week than seeing my students’ faces as we returned to in-person piano lessons and classes.
Turns out we’re wired for human contact after all!
You can always learn on your own (and you should aim to become your own best teacher), or you may decide you want the guidance of a piano teacher. Once you do, and if you have the luxury of a number of people to choose from, how do you go about picking the best one for you?
I wish someone had given me some advice on this at any number of points in my student-hood. Over the years, I think I’ve narrowed down what I’ve valued most in the piano teachers I’ve been lucky to have.
Here are three questions you should ask when looking for the best piano teachers who will help you excel in your piano lessons:
1. How well do they communicate?
Let’s be honest. Piano is hard enough; the last thing you need is to feel a gap in understanding between you and your piano teacher during your lessons.
You don’t have to have the best chemistry in the world (or a “soul mate” connection, as Lang Lang describes in this interview). You should feel you can speak up, be heard, and understand what they’re saying.
2. Do they inspire you?
I don’t mean inspiring in the sense that they are flashy performers or talkers. I mean, does their teaching spark something inside of you that makes you want to go practice?
A good piano teacher can activate your intrinsic motivation, whether it’s by showing you something new, explaining something well, or revealing your capacity to improve.
Now, there’s no question that a student’s progress is ultimately dependent on the student. You have to put in the work, leverage your discipline, focus on your goals, and you can't rely on solely on your piano lessons. Nonetheless, an inspiring piano teacher should still help you see what’s possible.
3. What do you want out of your piano lessons?
This is the most difficult questions and one I find that people tend to gloss over.
They say, “I want the best piano teacher,” and then look for the person with the fanciest degree, longest resume, or most prestigious studio. In some cases those are good metrics, but many times they are not.
It all depends: do you want someone who will inspire a love of music in your six-year-old? Do you want someone who can guide you through the major international competitions? Do you want someone to help you play with less tension and pain? Do you want someone who can teach you about music theory?
The more specifically you can enunciate your needs, the better your chances of having them met.
Ultimately, finding a good piano teacher is about knowing yourself (like so many other things, eh?).
Once you’ve considered these three queries, you can start evaluating teachers, ideally with a trial lesson. Short of that, the internet is here to help.
Masterclasses like the ones on tonebase are a great way to educate yourself on teaching styles. Go ahead, take notes like a total nerd.
Do you like how they communicate? Did they say anything that made you want to go to the piano and try it? Did they cover a topic that’s useful to you?
The more you notice about the art of teaching, the more you’ll be able to find your best piano teacher with confidence.
Did you learn something new?
Feel free to click this link to check out our in-depth courses on piano, taught by artists including Grammy winning pianists and professors from schools such as Juilliard, Curtis, and more.
On tonebase, you will find in-depth courses and workshops with some of the world’s top pianists, covering a wide range of subjects such as repertoire-specific lessons, piano technique, and more.