Finding A Piano Teacher For Your Child

How do you find a competent piano teacher for your child's private lessons? The following tips may be of help.

If you believe your child has inherent musical talent or is ready for private piano lessons, your next step will be to find a suitable instructor. Hiring the wrong kind of teacher could turn your child away from piano study or instill incorrect habits that will be hard to break later. The following tips may help you find a competent instructor for your child's piano study.

1. Ask your child's schoolteacher. Sometimes teachers know of tutors or instructors who are willing to give personal lessons at their home or come to yours. This might be the school's music teacher or even a retired performer or instructor. The school is a good place to start, since music is often an important part of the core curriculum or extracurricular studies.

2. Check the classifieds. Search the newspaper ads under "education" to see if instructors are advertising their tutorial services. If you find one or more that you are interested in, call to ask a few questions about qualifications, scheduling availability, and cost. Then set up an interview to meet face-to-face and determine whether this person will work well with your child. You will probably want to meet with two or three people and do some comparing of personalities and skills.

3. Ask around. Perhaps your family members or friends have been successful in finding a good piano instructor for their children. If so, ask for contact information or see if they will find out whether the teacher is taking new clients. As always, make arrangements to meet with the teacher to see if it appears that he or she can work productively with your child.

4. Allow your child to meet the teacher as well. Observe how they interact. Of course there will be the natural politeness that comes with introductions. Note whether the teacher seems to like kids and if she displays patience in answering your child's questions. Does she or he appear to be the kind of person who can work with kids or does the person seem more comfortable with adults? If the teacher's piano will be used, are there strict rules about hand washing and touching the keys?

5. Ask about the curriculum. What will the instructor attempt to teach your child? How will this be done? How long will lessons be, and how frequently? How should payments be made--monthly? Weekly? What happens when your child misses a lesson due to illness--will you still have to pay for the lesson time? What should your child expect to learn within six months or a year? While the goals may vary, you should be able to get a reasonable idea.

While you can merely hire the first instructor you happen to meet, it is probably better to take your time and find someone who seems best suited to work with your son or daughter. Adding another duty to your child's schedule will come with its own stress, so try to head off potential problems by choosing a teacher who cares about kids and who wants to help your child develop his or her musical skills.

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