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Sep 11 / Greg

Finding a Piano Teacher

Here are four qualities to look for when finding a piano teacher:

1. Patience

Patience is a must in a music teacher, especially for a beginner.

They must take the time to evaluate learning styles and apparent learning capacity, 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 so you can gauge their individual style and temperament.

2. They Must Be Able to Play Your Desired Style

Every pianist has a favorite song or piece they dream of playing, and it takes time to learn to do so.

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 play sonatas, and the ‘big’ piano works, a teacher who only plays show tunes might not be able to fully develop your classical playing.

If you want to explore a wider spectrum of music, make sure your teacher’s knowledge can span that spectrum.

3. They Must Be Able to Dedicate Themselves to You

As a beginner, you may need a little extra attention from time to time. Look for teachers who are happy to provide you with contact information and offer a back-up service in case you have any questions for them regarding the lesson.

Your ideal teacher will spend extra time with you on any area where you may be having difficulty, and would be prepared to schedule extra lessons if needed.

4. They Must Be Passionate

Good teachers want to see their students excel. 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.

Here are some other things to look for when seeking a piano teacher for you or a child:



* Motivational: They should have the ability to motivate students to want to learn how to play the piano.

* Professional: You want someone who has great work ethics, but is also friendly and easy to talk to.

* Communicative: Your piano teacher needs to be able to communicate with you clearly and effectively.

* Organized: You want a teacher who will undertake a planned approach to lessons. Learning the piano is a long-term goal and requires a methodical and consistent lesson routine.

In addition to these qualities, the right piano teacher for your older children, or you as an adult, will also teach:

* Music theory & harmony: To understand music, you need to have a working knowledge of the various musical elements (melody, harmony, rhythm, form).

* Chords: Chords are the foundation of most Western music styles. Make sure your teacher knows the fundamental discords.

* Technique: Make sure the teacher includes a study of developmental exercises and techniques as well as scales and arpeggios.

* Sight reading: The only way you will learn to read music efficiently is by reading lots of it. You want a teacher who regularly presents new pieces of varying styles and degrees of difficulty to develop reading ability.

* Aural training and development: Ear training is best started with the very young, around 3-4 years of age. For the rest of us, anytime is a good time to start. This is one of the critical areas of musicianship, and should be a regular part of any musical instrument training.

In closing:

If a teacher does not want to offer you an interview before accepting you, look for another one.

If a teacher wants to charge you for the initial interview, look for another one.

Once you have made your choice, be prepared to commit to a minimum of 30 lessons with that teacher.

It will take that long to get a balanced perspective on progress compared with what you expected.

You will then be in a good position to make longer term decisions about goals and aspirations.

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Greg Norman’s Piano lessons and/or Music Theory lessons…
Styles: Classical, Modern
Skill Level: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced, Post-Graduate, AMEB/ABRSM exams
Suitability: Ages 7 years and up to any age, any experience level. Lessons are weekly.

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