How to Choose a Good Piano Teacher

What parents and students should look for when choosing a private piano teacher.

You already understand that there is a direct effect with learning piano and the development of your child’s intellectual capability. You are now at the stage of embarking on learning the piano, or wanting your child to start having piano lessons. How do you go about choosing a good piano teacher?

Good piano teachers should be:

1) Patient and Encouraging
Especially when working with children, patience and strong encouragement are critical qualities needed in a teacher. Children typically have short attention spans and believe that everything is quickly achievable. Frustration quickly seeps in when they realize that keeping a tune or getting the right note is not so easy after all. These are the times when the teacher must be able to make the piano lesson fun and engaging.

2) Showing Passion
There is a saying that passion is not taught, it is caught. A good piano teacher would be able to express the language behind the music, the life and the rhythms behind the sounds. A teacher does not have to be highly certified to exude the love for music and piano playing. A child that is exposed to such passion during the formative years will continue to maintain the learning journey for the instrument.

3) Firm but fair
Those of us that have been through piano practice during childhood would have fudged a little during the week. An experienced teacher would be able to spot between the lack of practice and the practicing of a mistake. It is as important to address the lack of practice in a firm way as it is to encourage the efforts in building the required dexterity.

4) Certifications
In the Singapore context, examinations and qualifications are the common ways of marking the level of achievement. A teacher that has gone through the paces of music certifications would better understand what is needed by the examination board. Beginners can still succeed with a teacher having a Grade Seven certification. For students of higher grades, Grade Eight should be the minimum requirement of the teacher. For students learning piano for recreational development, qualifications take a back seat to passion and expressiveness of the teacher.

The appreciation of music and the learning of the piano is a rewarding process that sometimes has its tough paces of practice and repetition. A good teacher will be able to bring that out in the child learner’s skills and capabilities. There will be a few situations where there is simply personality mismatch between the teacher and the student. This should be obvious within the first two months of piano lesson and should be addressed before the interest for the instrument is affected.

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