The question I receive most often from readers of GRAND PIANO PASSION™ is whether I might be able to recommend a good piano teacher.
It’s that old goal-setting exercise again, which can be particularly repetitive around the New Year, yet taking even 15 minutes to articulate what you would like to accomplish with your new teacher is important.
Once you have outlined your goals, it’s a simple hop, step, and jump to articulate the characteristics of your dream teacher. Because I wanted to center my study on classical piano music, I wanted a teacher trained at a top conservatory. In Allegra Jordan’s case, in contrast, she viewed the piano as a good way to knit herself together given the demands of her career as an innovation expert, the responsibility of raising two boys as a single mother, and her interest in creative writing (she came out with a historical novel in 2012). The majority of piano studios consist of elementary and middle school students, with a few teenagers preparing for the conservatory. Finding a new piano teacher is a lot like finding a new job—you need to inform as many people as possible about your search. I have played piano for 40 years, taught piano lessons for 15 years, and taught elementary school for 8 years. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. Luck24 February 2016Sol Garnier2 CommentsWhen you chose to be a musician, you get a lot of advice.
Some bands will need some luck to be noticed and be on the radio, yes, especially now with the payola going on. Being lucky can determine a few things, but being prepared can be the difference between starving or thriving.
I think that being a pro musician is a combination of qualities one needs to have in order to succeed. About the AuthorProfessional musician and instructor Sol Garnier has been teaching drums in Chicago since 1991. When you are beginning to learn the piano, you might feel that you need all the help that you can get.
You should definitely make sure that you are going to be getting lessons from a reputable teacher. When you believe you have found a piano teacher who can help you, you can begin your lessons as soon as she can work you into her schedule. If your piano teacher does not seem to know much about the kind of music you want to play, do not  do the easy thing and stay in her lessons. There is so much music terminology for piano players that even experienced players come across new terms on piano music.
Whether you are a fledgling beginner or a seasoned amateur (or a parent helping your teen), finding the right teacher is crucial. In my case, I wanted to seriously pursue the next level of my pianism, continue to center my study on classical piano music, increase both technique and repertoire, and continue to perform in amateur concerts. My goal of increasing technique and repertoire implied a teacher with clear expectations for practice.
She selected a teacher who came to the house, and he also taught her sons, the piano lessons becoming a way of creating family closeness. But you, as a GRAND PIANO PASSION™ reader, are either an adult student or a committed teenager who plays for the love of the instrument.


Some teachers, such as Gail Fischler in Arizona, Joy Morin of Ohio, Laura Lowe of Georgia, and Anna Shelest of New York City, teach children and at the same time welcome and celebrate the adult student at any level. Now that you’ve got a model of your dream teacher, describe that desired teacher to others and ask for recommendations. First, the Music Teachers National Association maintains a searchable database of teachers by state who have earned the association’s National Certified Teachers of Music credential (NCTM). Piano lessons are something I would recommend for many children, because of the benefits music lessons impart in the areas of math, logical thinking, reasoning, and just plain aesthetic beauty. Playing piano is a complex skill, and in just the first few weeks your child will need to learn about basic rhythm, note names on the piano, and how these notes correspond to written notation in a book. I know this is not usually done, because when I taught lessons I would encourage parents to do this and most admitted that they just did not have the time. When my girls studied piano, they knew that they are expected to practice their lesson daily. I often tell my piano students that learning to play piano is really pretty much drudgery for the first few years. I tell my students that perseverance is important in learning to play any musical instrument. You also get a lot of certitudes too, meaning, people know how it works in the music business and will be vocal about it. It involves studying the instrument and listening to a lot of music, of course, although you don’t need to be a concert pianist to make a good living in the piano business. The problem is that they are very generic and do not accommodate your own personal learning curve. Regardless of what has been said about, "Those who cannot do teach," your teacher might be a very able piano player. So I’ve developed a complete guide on how to find a good piano teacher, spiced with my experiences from my recent search.
Allegra Jordan, an international expert in innovation who takes adult piano lessons, had very different goals. In my case, my previous teacher was brilliant but also young, just graduated from conservatory when I began my study with him.
I also wanted a locally based teacher, because I knew that the time spent commuting into New York City for my lesson could be better used to practice the piano. Given your qualities, I recommend setting your sights on a teacher who has at least a couple of other adults or older teens.
Others, such as Cosmo Buono and Seymour Bernstein, teach a combination of professionals and advanced amateurs.
This kind of good, old-fashioned networking is particularly useful if you are a member of a group, such as the Amateur Classical Musicians Association in New York City.
Try calling a few of the teachers in your area and asking whether they teach adults or whether they could recommend a teacher who focuses on adults. But, I also think piano lessons are often entered into lightly and without a full understanding of the commitment involved. One of the most common certitude is that you’re going to need some luck to succeed as a pro musician. It may be difficult to find out the price of the lessons without committing to them, but you can do it if you are careful.


Some websites offer several free lessons to get you started and give you an idea of what is to come.
Look for someone who will change her teaching style when her original methods are not helping. It is to your advantage if you can find someone who knows the tricks of the trade from experience.
Always be aware that you can change piano teachers at any time for your advantage and variety of learning. Keep searching until you find that special teacher that can help you learn all you want to know. In this first of three articles, I advise on how to get started by creating a short list of potential teachers. For Allegra, the piano is a way of relaxing with family and friends, and she sought to transpose her favorite songs into manageable keys, for singing or playing at a party.
I felt that the type of teacher who could help me take my pianism to the next level would be the opposite, a pedagogue with years of experience. Finally, my interest in performing suggested I would benefit from a teacher who still actively performed and who could help me access performance opportunities. This focus provides the added benefit of a social network and is useful during recital time, so that you are not the only adult in a lineup of kids, a somewhat humbling experience I contended with for years. Another option is PianoWorld, which hosts a number of online discussion groups that are collegial and helpful. And one thing that I have often observed is a child beginning piano lessons full of enthusiasm, only to quit a year later, discouraged by a lack of progress.
This level of practice usually ensures that the child will know a piece within a week of practice. Because when it all finally comes together and a student can open a piece of music and just play it, is magical! You will want someone you can talk to on an equal level when the subject is not piano playing.
It can only help you when you are ready to learn with formal lessons through a piano teacher. I have made the commitment to sit with my daughters each day they practice for the first several years they take piano lessons.
Early in the week, your child may want to practice a piece with hands separately, or perhaps just work on a line or two if the piece is difficult.
Encourage your child on the basic songs he or she is learning, and try to keep expectations within reason. I know this is time-consuming, but I think this is the single most important thing parents can do to ensure musical success for your child. We keep five buttons on the top of the piano, and when the child plays a song they lose a button for each mistake, the goal being to have at least one button left at the end of the piece (only do this when the child has some degree of familiarity with the song).
Other things you may try could be earning a sticker for a chart after a good lesson (or even after each day your child practices).



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