If you’re a beginning piano player–especially if you’ve already made the big step and bought a piano–then the next thing on your mind is most likely whether or not to teach yourself to play or to take lessons. If you’ve decided to take lessons, you have a few options available to you. Some people, for instance, prefer taking online lessons, though the majority of beginning piano players stick to old-fashioned tutoring. If you’ve decided to take private piano lessons, here are a few things to consider when choosing a piano teacher.
Cost is usually the first thing on most people’s minds–and with good reason. Piano lessons can be expensive. Generally, cost varies depending on the location, skill, and experience of the piano teacher, so look around to find the best deal. Make sure, of course, that your teacher is qualified and that you’re not paying $3 an hour for a beginner to teach you. Expect to pay around $30 -$100 an hour, though of course this really depends on the individual teacher.
If you live in a small town, you might need to travel a bit further to find a good piano teacher. Factor the cost of travel into your budget. Some teachers will come to your home, though many prefer you go to theirs. Ask around to find out how far you might need to travel.
3. Can they Play?
This might seem, ummm, a bit obvious, but make sure that your piano teacher has experience playing the piano! If you’re only wanting to learn only a minimal amount of piano playing, then you might consider a teacher who has less experience. If you’re wanting to become a concert pianist, then make sure your teacher has experience not just playing but performing. Don’t be afraid to question potential teachers, asking them about their prior playing experience.
4. Can they Teach?
Now that you know they can play, the bigger question is…can they teach? Professional pianists aren’t necessarily good teachers. Ask for references if you wish, and call to find out how the experience went. Spend some time talking to the teacher to find out whether or not you might be a good personality match. Some teachers even offer a free or discounted first lesson, so ask if this is a possibility.
If you’re not planning on taking private lessons, you may be interested in online lessons, so stay tuned for our next article in the series. You’re one step closer to making piano playing one of your primary hobbies.