“What am I looking for?” is the question that will lead you to the right piano teacher. In general, it’s always better to reverse-engineer your problem. Instead of finding a piano teacher and adjusting to their needs, a better strategy would be to find someone who’s more suitable for you or your kid.
So what are you looking for? Do you want someone who knows music fundamentals like the back of their hand? Do you want a fun and enjoyable experience? Someone who’s good with kids? Is it important for your child to build a personal connection or do you want the focus to be on a “music education?”
Once you clarify what you want, the next step is to accept that no teacher can deliver 100% of what you’re looking for. Everybody has strengths and weaknesses and that applies to professionals as well. Shaq was one of the greatest big men to ever play the game of basketball… and one of the worst free throw shooters of all time.
So make a compromise and think of the top 2 or 3 qualities you want a piano teacher to have and pay attention to the following caveats:
Don’t assume a good piano player makes for good teaching, and vice versa. Being a better performer makes you a better performer, not a better teacher.
Someone who both plays and teaches well is an exception.
Also, be careful when a teacher has a talented student. It doesn’t necessarily mean they’re a good teacher. Know why? Because it’s EASY to teach talented students. They’re more or less what you would call auto-didactic, students who are really good at teaching themselves, or self-learning. These students will thrive in any environment and most likely with any teacher. I have a few of them and I’ll tell you the most important thing is to not get in their way.
Here’s the most important piece of advice: look at the teachers’ roster of students. If you’re looking for someone who’s good with kids and beginners, make sure their studio is packed with kids who are beginners and have a great connection with the teacher.
People are who they surround themselves with. Every studio reflects their teacher. It’s just like how a professional football team will take on the personality of their head coach.
So when looking for the right piano teacher, make sure you take your time and do your research. Your wallet and your child will thank you later.