Choosing a Piano Teacher

Piano teacher & student

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Choosing a piano teacher may seem to be a difficult task. Follow these SIMPLE GUIDELINES for success.

A reader asks:

Good day,

I am so glad to have come across your site as a beginner learner in my adulthood! I love what I've seen.

Do you have any advice for what to look out for in choosing a piano teacher?  I live in a place where education is not thoroughly regulated and credentials are not always what they seem.

So basically, how can we separate the wheat from the chaff?  Are there particular questions I can ask the prospective teacher?  Thank you so much and best regards.

Thank you, Debbie

My thoughts on choosing a teacher

Hello, Debbie,

Those are excellent questions. I can think of the answers I would want, if I was interviewing a prospective teacher:

1. What is your educational background? Did you study music in college or just learn to play as a child?

2. Have you studied music theory? Can you explain chords, and scales, and key signatures, and can you help me understand why these are relevant to playing the songs & pieces I want to learn - why I should CARE?

3. What about musical technique? (And how well do you play yourself? - this one may be tricky.)  What level of CLASSICAL music do you have the ability to play?

4. What do your students and their parents say about you? Can I have some references?

5. Do you give recitals? Can you show me recital programs or tell me how your students do performing?  Do you have a recital coming up, that I can attend?

6. How flexible are you about music choices? Can I choose at least some of the pieces I will be working on?

7. Can I take (and pay for, of course!) 2 or 3 lessons to see if we get along and if I enjoy lessons?

These are reasonable questions to ask a potential teacher. Additionally, you need to find someone you feel comfortable with, who seems KIND, who CHALLENGES you to be better (not one who is complimentary no matter how poorly prepared your work is) and whose habits or environment are not disturbing to you (bad breath, house that smells funny, no sense of humor... )

8. Additionally, if you are a parent searching for a teacher for your child, I would never consider leaving your child alone with a stranger!  You must get to know teachers and feel you understand them well, and believe your child is very comfortable being alone with them, before you allow that situation to happen.



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About the Author

Dana Thynes

Hi, I'm Dana!  (Say that like "Anna".)  I'm the owner of, and a newer site,

Like some of you, I've been playing the piano since early childhood, and have added a few other instruments along the way, plus an interest in arranging and composing music.

You can find out more about me and the reason for this website at my About Me page.