Learning to play the piano has multiple benefits for children. Here are a few tips on how to find a great teacher for your child.
Miss Loretta was a kind woman and wonderful musician – just what you would want in a piano teacher, with one exception: she had beautifully manicured fake nails that were incredibly long and clicked on the keys as she played.
I hardly noticed this as she played through songs like the theme to The Pink Panther and Für Elise. These exhibitions were her best weapon of motivation. She would pull out a new song that was several levels more difficult than I could accomplish at that moment, play it for me, and then promise that I would get to learn it myself as soon as I was ready.
Starting when I was age 8, she came to our house for a half-hour lesson every week for five years. Her method didn’t involve any fancy piano book series. At the beginning she sketched out a series of notes and explained that on the top set, Every Good Boy Does Fine is the lines and F-A-C-E, while on the bottom Good Boys Do Fine Always and All Cows Eat Grass. From then on, all of my instruction was with xeroxed sheet music of songs that started out very simple and edged upward in difficulty.
How does one find a piano teacher nowadays?
On occasion, I have run across websites that are supposed to make this easier, but they never seem to have very many teachers listed in the local area. On top of that, even though everything else can be found via online search, individual piano teachers don’t seem to have a very good grasp on online marketing.
So the old fashioned methods for finding a teacher are still the best. These are:
- Ask anyone you know who either plays piano or has a child taking lessons for a recommendation. Even if that person doesn’t offer lessons, they might know someone who does.
- Contact a nearby music store. Sadly, music stores are few and far between nowadays, but they still exist, and the independent stores often have lessons right there at the store.
- Contact the music department at a nearby college or university. College students studying music performance are trained on how to give private lessons, and actually have to find students to practice their pedagogical skills on. While you should never expect them to teach for free, they are likely to be offer more reasonable prices.
I’m not going to try to give an estimate of how much lessons cost nowadays. If you use the strategies above, you should be able to find several teachers in your area and this will give you an idea of the range. Keep in mind that a teacher who comes to your home for lessons will charge more because of the travel time limits how many lessons they can schedule in a week.
Even if your child doesn’t turn out to be a prodigy, providing them the opportunity to learn music is a tremendous boon for their development. Learning music actually strengthens abstract thought, spatial recognition, and math concepts. Along the way, kids learn patience, tenacity, and focus. It’s the perfect antidote for the instant-gratification that screen time offers.