How to choose a piano/music teacher for your child

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With Grace learning piano and having been a piano teacher myself for six years while at uni, I am usually asked what to look for when finding a piano/music teacher for children.  It’s an interesting question because as the parent/guardian of the child, you would know exactly what personality type your child would be drawn to.  However, after carefully considering my answer, I thought I would share what I have advised my friends:

1) Ask your network for recommendations – Word of mouth works.  I’ve had parents approach me for Grace’s piano teacher’s details because their child either has a similar personality type as her or because they’ve been impressed by her progress.

2) Determine what type of teacher you are looking for – do you want a teacher who will instill a love of music in your child?  Take it easy (i.e. not push them) and allow them to play when and what they want?  Do you want a teacher who will be strict on technique (although I personally believe this is a good thing.  There is nothing worse than trying to re-teach proper finger posture after they’ve spent years playing with flat fingers, low wrists, high shoulders etc.), who expects them to be diligent in practice and/or play in multiple recitals/competitions each year? These questions aren’t mutually exclusive by any means.

3) Meet the teacher with your child – your child needs to like the teacher and feel a connection (it sure helps when they are instructing them!) so ask their opinion after the meeting to see if they felt comfortable with them.

4) Sit in on a piano lesson with a child in similar age – Once you have a preferred (or short list) teacher in mind, ask if you and your child can sit in a piano lesson of a child who is a similar age.  Watch how the teacher engages with the child, the structure of the lesson (I know this depends on your child’s age but was there theory, technique as well as song practice?)  as well as if they were strict/encouraging.

So there are my tips!  I currently have Grace doing Suzuki (vs the traditional method) but my thoughts on that later…

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