Finding a piano tutor

Anyone can run through a piano lesson with you, but it is how the tutor reacts in response to your progress that really sets a good tutor apart from a bad one…

Getting a piano tutor can really advance your playing, but getting the wrong instructor can be costly and even destructive to your learning.

Here are our 5 best tips for what to look for in a piano instructor.

1. Patience and Honesty

Reliable, honest feedback is critical to your advancement on piano. And the best person to give you this type of feedback is an experienced tutor who knows what they are listening for when it comes to good playing.

Also, vitally important is that this person is patient and knows when such feedback is useful and when they should just let you figure it out for yourself. It’s a fine balance and one that only a few ever really master.

The best way to find someone with both these qualities is to ask around at your local music store and see which names keep coming up. People recognize good teaching when they receive it and won’t hesitate to recommend someone who has taught them well in the past.

2. Pays attention to your progress

Anyone can run through a piano lesson with you, but it’s how the tutor reacts in response to your progress that really sets a good tutor apart from a bad one. A good tutor is able to see exactly where you are with your progress and advance your learning accordingly.

The key to finding this in a tutor is to check on their experience. The more experienced they are at teaching piano, the more likely they are to get it right when responding to your progress.

3. Passionate about teaching the subject

Probably the worst thing to strike in a piano teacher is a lack of passion for teaching piano. If you have an instructor who you feel is just there for the money, and who doesn’t really care very much about teaching you, then it is time to get out of there!

Signs that a piano instructor is not really in it for the reward of teaching include: clock watching, lack of attention to your playing and most obvious – a lack of ongoing musical development in their own life.

The old saying rings true: You should practice what you preach. Make sure your piano tutor is actively studying music too before committing to ongoing training with them.

4. Teaches songs AND the theory behind them

It’s the thing that people most want to learn – how to play their favorite song. And it’s very easy for a tutor to just become a piano lesson jukebox, teaching song, after song, after song, week, after week, after week and never really delving into the theory behind the song.

To be clear, there’s nothing wrong with learning songs – but neglecting to learn the theory behind what you are playing WILL be detrimental to your long term development. Make sure your tutor has a good grounding in music theory and can teach it in the context of the songs you are learning.

5. Brings structure to your learning

The most important thing a good instructor will do for your piano learning is bring structure to it. There are so many things to learn, so many directions to go and so many ways to go wrong.

A good instructor will be able to bring the necessary structure to your learning to enable you to see results up front and know that you are headed in the right direction with your long term development.

If lessons with your piano tutor are lacking structure then suggest they begin teaching you from a structured curriculum as it will bring focus to your lessons and enable you to develop much quicker in the right direction.

This is why so many tutors opt to use our Rocket Piano course as a basis for their teaching – because it brings structure to the learning process.

Keep these things in mind when you go looking for a tutor and you can’t go wrong.

Remember, you are well within your rights to try a few different tutors before you settle on the one that is right for you, just let them know that’s what you’re doing up front.

Posted by the team!

Three Costly Mistakes when Learning Piano

Learning piano is one of the most satisfying things you will ever do, but a few easy mistakes could cost you hundreds of dollars for no gain in your playing.

Below we show you 3 of these mistakes and give you our best advice on how to avoid them.

PAYING FOR PIANO LESSONS THAT PROMISE THE EARTH BUT ONLY DISAPPOINT

“Master piano in 30 days!”, “Become a piano god in 90 days”, “Learn piano in a weekend” – These are the catch cries of those who promise the earth, but rarely deliver. If you’ve been searching the web for piano lessons you’ll know what I mean. They are everywhere.

The truth is, no one learns piano in a matter of days. It’s a lifetime’s pursuit. Hopefully you haven’t been taken in by any of these ‘snake oil’ piano products, but if you have, our advice is to request a refund and find a course of instruction that is based on the principle of structured learning.

The rule of thumb when spotting a lemon piano course – if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

BUYING THE BEST PIANO, BUT SCRIMPING ON THE LESSONS

This is a common problem among beginner pianists. It’s easy to go for the big spend on your piano or keyboard, but then neglect your learning. You have to remember it’s no good having all of that expensive gear if you can’t play it.

Our advice is to spend well on your equipment and get the best gear you can afford, but leave some money for your piano education – it will serve you better in the long run.

PAYING FOR A TUTOR WHO ISN’T CUTTING IT.

This is perhaps the most dangerous trap for new pianists because it can be hard to spot and can cost you thousands of dollars. A piano lesson can cost anywhere from $30 – $50 per session.

Over the course of a year you could be spending up to two thousand dollars for piano lessons, so you want to make sure you are getting your money’s worthfrom your tutor.

MAJOR WARNING SIGNS THAT YOUR TUTOR ISN’T CUTTING IT:

  • Tutor shows a lack of understanding about piano. This is from inexperience. If you feel your tutor is only just managing to stay a step ahead of you you’ll know they aren’t right for you.
  • Tutor displays a lack of passion for teaching piano. This will normally come across as impatience. If your tutor is impatient and unconcerned with nurturing your development it’s time to go.
  • Tutors lessons lack focus. This is an easy one to spot. Are your lessons organized? Do they run smoothly? If not, your tutor isn’t planning enough and the result will be a lack of focus. Time to exit.
  • Personality mismatch. Sometimes you’ll find a perfectly capable tutor but you just won’t get on with them. This is normal. Everyone is different and some types just work better together. And it is quite acceptable to admit it when the relationship dynamic isn’t working and move on – you’re not married to your instructor.

We offer a guarantee to every student – we’ll teach you how to play the piano and save you money, because our lessons do it right first time. If you’re not happy you get your money back.