We all have fond memories of our favorite teacher. They were able to turn that tough subject into instinct. In the student-teacher relationship, some chemistries just work better than others, and chemistry can make or break the learning dynamic.
Wouldn't it be wonderful if every instructor could make such an impact? When it comes to a piano teacher, the decision is yours. Here are four qualities you should look for during your search:
1. They Must Be Patient
Patience is a virtue, but it is a must in a music teacher, especially for a beginner. An easily frustrated instructor can be discouraging, but a patient one will inspire.
They must take the time to evaluate your learning style, so they can better help you understand. But, be sure that you don't associate patience with a lack of assertiveness; your ideal instructor should be encouraging you to progress, so don't plan on missing your lessons without a stern talking to!
Tip: Ask if you can receive a trial lesson, or observe a lesson in progress so you can gauge their individual style, charisma, and temperament.
2. They Must Be Able to Play Your Desired Style
Every pianist has a favorite song they dream of mastering, and it takes time to do so. You will get there, and choosing a fitting teacher will be a tremendous help.
Many piano teachers are familiar with different varieties of music, but some may specialize in one particular style. If you want to perfect long concertos, a teacher who only plays show tunes might not be able to fine-tune your classical playing. But, if you want to explore a wider spectrum of music, make sure your teacher's knowledge can span that spectrum.
Tip: Discuss with your potential piano instructor about his or her strengths, and find out if they can help you reach your musical goals.
3. They Must Be Passionate
What is music without passion? It certainly wouldn't be what it is today if music and passion weren't brought together in a harmonious marriage.
Every teacher wants to see their students excel, but some want it for an ego boost. Professionals can get lost in the routine of work and lose their spark. They may be fantastic teachers, but passion can rub off. You want to find a teacher who is in love with their art, and is eager to show you the joys that music can bring you.
Tip: Try to get a referral from a fellow student, or speak to a professional in the field who can give you some recommendations.
4. They Must Be Able to Dedicate Themselves to You
As a beginner, you will need a little extra TLC. Many piano teachers are happy to provide you with contact information in case you have any questions for them regarding the lesson.
In the lesson room, your ideal teacher will spend extra time with you on a topic you may be struggling with, and might even schedule extra time during the week for a follow-up lesson. A teacher who is high in demand may sound like an enticing option, but as a beginner, you don't want a teacher who is spreading themself too thin!
Tip: Find out how many students or projects your teacher is taking on, so you can gauge their flexibility.
For more basic information, check out How to Find and Choose a Piano Teacher.