How did you find and choose a piano teacher? - Advice and tips

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Postby Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed » Fri Jul 09, 2004 1:33 pm

People find and choose teachers in all kinds of ways. How did you find yours? What made you choose your teacher over others? Any advice to other students and teachers?
All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man's life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom. - Albert Einstein
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Postby 115-1089433182 » Fri Jul 09, 2004 10:25 pm

I found my teacher through a friend.

is it possible to start a new thread here?
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Postby 65-1074818729 » Sat Jul 10, 2004 5:37 am

I contacted the faculty of music at a university near my community. They gave me a list of some of their graduates who had majored in piano and were teaching in the community.

The first two or three I contacted only taught younger students. ( up to age 17 or 18). I was slightly older than that, 53 to be exact.

The next one I contacted on the list did teach adults, so after a brief conversation we agreed to meet for lesson one, and the rest is history.

I have been taking lessons every second week for the past six years with the same teacher. I am making satisfactory progress, totally enjoying the experience, and I plan to keep going for a long time yet.

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Postby 110-1089657553 » Mon Jul 12, 2004 12:41 pm

I phoned the music department of the local university when I moved into town, and they said to send them an e-mail about my piano eduction, interests, goals, etc., and that they would forward it to their piano faculty. I also contacted a local music school. I ended up "interviewing" several teachers before deciding on the one I thought would be best for me.
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Postby 65-1074818729 » Mon Jul 12, 2004 4:30 pm


I notice this is your first posting to this web site. I am a piano student who posts here fairly regularly, so I will take the opportunity to say "Welcome Aboard"

AFlat :)
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Postby Lyndall » Tue Jul 13, 2004 6:11 pm

My teacher taught a friend's 13 yr old son & even though she is very busy & in demand, she agreed to take me on as an adult. She's the best thing to happen to me. I never felt truly comfortable with any piano teachers since my childhood teacher 'graduated' me to her son when I was teenager.

I'm so happy now & she is a wonderful thorough compassionate woman & teacher who inspires me week after week (pity I can't carry that inspiration through on my own all week long!)
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Postby 110-1089657553 » Wed Jul 14, 2004 5:21 am

AFlat, thanks for the welcome! I love piano and am so glad to be playing again, so I'm looking forward to exchanging ideas and experiences with other piano students. I minored in music in college, but didn't play much for the next decade, but just got back into it about 8 months ago (I am 34 now). I'm also studying theory and composition with a composer/conductor in town, as I'm interested in composing as well as playing. If only my pesky full-time job didn't get in the way of the music! ;-)

Again, thanks for the welcome.
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Postby 77-1075933204 » Tue Jul 27, 2004 7:17 pm

I chose my through the Music teachers association (MTA) and they give you a list of all the teachers in your area. HOwever, ive actually had like 4 paino teachers in my past so far and i can only say that you can only think your teacher is good if youve have others to compare with. Everybody learns different so you may need to experiment a bit when choosing, asking questions to get the mood of classes could be very valuable i think. :)
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Postby presto » Fri Jul 30, 2004 1:20 pm

My parents knew I wanted piano lessons, and looking for some that were not too expensive, they found some at a local (I'm not sure what would it be called, exactly) community activity center.
I've been taking lessons at the same place with the same teacher for about seven years now! She's become quite like family, almost, to me and to my younger brother, who also takes lessons. She feels the same way about us as we do about her. After all, seven years together can make you feel pretty close! Besides which, she's such a kind and patient teacher, it's quite natural to like her.
I suppose this has turned into a sort of tribute, instead of just an account of how we found her, but she certainly deserves it after all these years of good work. :)
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Postby 81-1074658942 » Sat Jul 31, 2004 11:22 pm

My parents found my first piano teacher through my school. It was a very small private school and there were three or four teachers that gave lessons there. [Really convenient. most kids went to lessons once a week during recess] I had that teacher for about seven years, and then we decided that switching would be good. So she talked to some people in the area and set me up to interview my current teacher. I've been studying with the teacher I have now for about a year and we've gotten on really well!

I'm going to have to remember the idea of calling universities. That's a really good one.
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Postby 80-1091265929 » Mon Aug 02, 2004 2:59 am

hmmm. my first teacher, i have no idea, i was young(10-11) maybe my mother found it in the newpaper...(?) now in california at 13, my mom saw in ad in the local military YMCA(on the military base) while my sister was practising ballet, and she urged me... so we called, he wasn't what i would call inspiring or friendly, but then again i was 13.. he would eat potato chips in the middle of the lesson after shouting "play it again!", and then if i did something wrong he tap the page rather hardly and grunt "no,no,no!" "your supposed to do it like this!" and then he would wipe his greasy hands and then play it like it was supposed to be played(he had timing down VERY well).. and then i repeated and the whole process was over, he was a world touring concert pianist that felt like giving the military children a chance to learn the joys of the piano, but all though i didn't really like him, he actually made me play well, and in time, with the right notes, and right the wrongs that my previous inexperienced teacher let get away with out of impatience, and i actually could play well, without my left hand being sloppy and just as good as my right, and timing was key in learning and keeping in tempo.. In the long run looking back at the age of 17, i would say he was a great teacher because he could take anybody and make them play well in a relatively short amount of time(he wasn't hasty). :D just my experience, Ive been entreating(pleading) my parents to put me back in piano lessons, but they won't because they got rid of the piano.. oh well... another era :D
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Postby yaxun » Mon Mar 21, 2005 12:11 am

I saw an piano lesson Ad on our local Chinese newspaper, who claimed that she is a julliard graduate, which impresses me. I called because I am looking for a teacher for my 8-year-old son. I asked the questions that I read from this forum, like how many students she has, what's her method to different child, any competition or recital arranged for students. It turns out that she is not speaking any chinese at all( How can she post the Ad in Chinese?), also is very very arrogant.She refused to answer any question of mine, and only comment is that how professional she is and music is playing music. It makes me feel so terrible!
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Postby Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed » Mon Mar 21, 2005 9:56 am

As we've said lots of places on the site, piano teaching is such a personal thing that interviewing the teacher before you start is essential. By asking questions, you found out that this teacher isn't right for you. It's possible that this teacher really wants to teach only advanced students, given her background, though I don't think the attitude you described is a positive one for any teacher. Just interview some other teachers. You'll find one you like! :)
All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man's life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom. - Albert Einstein
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Postby Glissando88keys » Fri Sep 15, 2006 12:13 pm

When I first started lessons, my parents sent me to the lady down the block. This was okay for a few months, but then my grandfather noticed that I was advancing rapidly, and he suggested The Conservatory.

The Conservatory Administrator tested my "ear" (recognition of notes he played, which he asked me to sing back to him) and asked me to play my best piece of music during our interview. He assigned a teacher that he felt would be a good match. The teacher he assigned was an excellent match, perfectly suited to my personality and I could not have asked for a better mentor. I continued lessons with her for 8 years.

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Postby Stretto » Sat Sep 16, 2006 9:22 am

I'm not sure how my parents found my piano teachers when I was growing up.

I started taking lessons again this Spring. When trying to decide where to look for a teacher, I ran into my previous piano professor who suggested I just register and sign up as college credit for private piano. There are also several other colleges in the area I could have checked with if anyone in their music dept. could give me lessons. I also had some names of some local teachers in the area that my previous instructor in college had given me when I graduated.

I would have gone one of those routes but thought I'd check with the music director at our church first. The church has a school of music and I thought perhaps the music director would have a lot of contacts in the community and if there was no one at the church, he would probably at least know of someone in the area. I e-mailed a letter to the church director giving a really detailed explaination of what I was looking for in a teacher and asking if he knew of anyone. I got an e-mail back from a teacher who plays piano and keyboard for the church services and helps in other areas of the church's music dept. saying she thought she could help me and I've been taking for 3 or 4 months now and the teacher is great! I get to work on classical music and get excellent advise on technique but I am also planning to get some advice on improvising and playing from lead sheets, etc.

p.s. my lessons are generally on the grand piano on stage in the church's smaller chapel so I'm actually playing on a grand on a stage setting every week!

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