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!