Choosing a right piano teacher for your child is not easy as you think. There are several factors to consider in order to get a positive results. Sharon Westbrook North Dakota’s piano teacher of the year has 12 thoughts to share. She has been teaching private piano lessons for 35 years. She is a national certified teacher and her credentials include two Bachelor’s Degrees in education and a Master’s in Piano Pedagogy.
Here is a list of what Westbrook feels a parent should consider when searching for the right piano teacher:
1. Does the child want to take lessons?
2. The teacher you choose should be personable and must like people and children. This may seem an understatement, but can prove disastrous if the teacher is not personable!
3. Don’t think “anyone can teach beginners.” The first teacher most often determines the child’s success as a musician in the future. They are the ones who set the foundation of how to practice, teach the fundamentals of reading and technique, and instill a love of music in their students.
4. The teacher should have the same goals as the parents and student. Are they teaching just how to play the piano, or are they teaching musicianship? Is the goal to become a concert pianist or to have a knowledge and love of music? Discuss what performance opportunities are available to the student and which ones are required by the instructor.
5. The teacher must want what is best for the student and not push for contests, gold cups or unrealistic goals, while at the same time still encouraging and motivating the student.
6. The teacher must have open communication with the parents of young children. The parents should supervise practice, or at least be in the room reading a book, sewing, etc.
7. The teacher may have a parent come to lessons or at least be open for them to come for some lessons.
8. The teacher must teach to the individual student — this is why they are taking private lessons. Teachers have a vast resource of piano methods and they need to use them or be willing to change if the material does not fit the student.
9. Ask the teacher the ages of her students and what she likes to teach. It’s important that the student and teacher have a good rapport and working relationship. Request an interview with prospective teachers to get a feel for their personality, teaching methods, goals and studio setup.
10. Ask for the teacher’s credentials not just concerning music, e.g. are they active in the community?
11. Ask for the teacher’s goals for students. Some good goals are for the student to enjoy music in general, learn the notes and be able to sight-read. Practicing is usually difficult until a routine is established. The teacher and parents need to provide positive reinforcements plus a lot of guidance in the first year.
12. Attend a student recital of the teacher you are contemplating.
Make sure to find a right piano teacher for your child!