Tips for Selecting a Piano Teacher

This article is sponsored by Arrow Academy of Music.

Arrow Academy of Music offers piano lessons for kids of all ages, providing a fun atmosphere derived from both traditional skill-building techniques and interactive games to keep kids engaged in music and develop a passion for it!

Piano Lessons

Choosing a piano teacher is like choosing a surgeon – you want one who knows what they’re doing! The relationship you establish with your piano school should be a long-lasting one, so let’s dive into the questions you should ask when interviewing a specialist in the area of piano instruction so your child will have a great start and not have to go through the pain of changing programs.

Questions to ask a Piano Teacher

  • Tell me about your experience.

A good piano teacher has numerous years of both playing and teaching experience. They will be able to confidently tell you how long they’ve been teaching, along with the rates they charge accordingly. 

  • How many students do you have?

You can spot a reliable and proven teacher by the number of students he or she teaches. A good follow-up question to this is “what has your growth been over the past few years?” This question helps show if families are looking to return to the service and if they are pleased with results. 

  • What happens if my child doesn’t come prepared for a lesson?

A good piano teacher will react to unprepared students with kindness, knowing just the right ways to help motivate and incentivize consistent practice. You can tell a relatable, fun, and kind teacher by how they answer this question.

  • How will I know if my child is progressing or falling behind?

Having a plan of instruction is the hallmark of excellence. Asynchronous (buzzword for learning at their own pace) learning is WAY overvalued and misunderstood. Students have their lightbulb moments in their own time, but that doesn’t mean they have to stop learning and stay on one piece until they have mastered it. What if they don’t like that piece, or they just haven’t reached that place to “get over the hump” so to speak and take off in their learning? So many students lose momentum and get bored at exactly the place many teachers have them keep their song for another week or two or three. Asking about evaluations will answer what this teacher believes about progress, and what their plan is for students who either fall behind where they should be in the year at regular intervals, or on the opposite side, those who excel quickly and need/want more.

  • What is your primary form of communication? How often should I expect updates?

The relationship between a teacher, parent, and student is like a three-strand cord. All three strands must be engaged and have understanding. You should hear something from the teacher regarding progress at least once a quarter, and at least once a month or more about other things going on in the studio to keep your child engaged.

  • Tell me about your performance opportunities.

Children often perform best when they have a reason to go the extra mile and prepare beyond what they may think is “good enough.” Performances offer encouragement, validity, and a sense of accomplishment like nothing else. Students learn the etiquette of introducing themselves formally, how to bow, and how it feels to be nervous and overcome it. However, performances don’t have to be stuffy and formal, and shouldn’t be! They should feel like a football player running onto the field to the cheers of all the adoring fans. 

  • How long does the average student stay with your program?

This question will tell you if the students and parents of this studio like where they are. It will also signify proven results (students that don’t progress quit) and demonstrate if the teacher is reputable. 

  • Are there any times students have a chance to play games or play music together?

Piano students need to feel like they are not alone among their peers. Their friends in sports, choir, and band participate in these activities in the community. Piano studios that offer interaction and community for piano students is a must. Group lessons are perfect for this, offering friendships, friendly competition, and an opportunity to feel like they are part of something bigger than themselves. Music games are critical for making music terms and skills stick, and they are a ton of fun as well, helping to keep your student interested and loving their lessons.

piano teacher des moines

  • Do students learn to read music or play by ear in your studio? Do students use technology in their lessons?

Students usually have one or the other (eyes or ears) that is stronger naturally, but developing their strengths as well as the weaker of skills broadens the student’s musicianship and therefore love of music for life. The use of technology is critical for young musicians and learning it in lessons not only makes it fun, but also makes them capable of moving into other varied music careers such as producing, arranging, film scoring, and the like.

  • What types of music will my child learn?

A good teacher balances music students like to play with music they will grow to like as they learn it. These songs are good for musicianship and music knowledge.

  • May I visit your studio or see a performance?

It is important for you and your child to experience the atmosphere of the lessons even if it’s online, and to watch students of the studio perform. You can tell a lot about the instruction by the confidence and skill of the musicians. In addition, parents should be encouraged to be present and engaged in lessons and at home. 

Want to get your child started with piano (or guitar) lessons? Arrow Academy of Music offers in-person lessons in Urbandale, IA, and online lessons. Contact them to explore their FREE trial lesson and learn more:

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