I blog a lot about making a careful match between your child and his piano teacher. It’s because I SO strongly feel that being thoughtful in this match sets the foundation for a lifelong love of learning and allows your child to be successful at his instrument.
What are you looking for in a piano teacher?
When I ask you that question, maybe you think to yourself, ” I want a piano teacher who plays for the local symphony, tours the state and is an amazing, renowned pianist.”
While those qualities make for an excellent PERFORMER, it doesn’t necessarily make for the best piano teacher. Perhaps it doesn’t make the best teacher for YOUR child.
I want you to think about my initial question again, but this time think about it from a child-centered point-of-view.
What are you looking for in a piano teacher that will make a great teacher for your child?
Take a moment to think about this and be really specific about what that looks like.
Not sure what I mean? Let’s think through some factors that may come into play to help you get the ball rolling…
How old is your child?
Are you starting piano lessons with a younger beginner? If so, you’ll need to find a teacher who accepts younger beginners (some teachers have a minimum age requirement of 7 or 8). Secondly, you’ll want to make sure that your teacher is someone who works well with younger beginners and has reasonable expectations for a younger student. Does the teacher expect your child to sit at the piano for 30 minutes? Or is she willing to approach learning the piano from a play-based curriculum? Is she able to teach things using large motor, physical experiences? Does she have age-appropriate materials in place?
On the flip side, if your child is older, you’ll want a teacher who is able to keep him challenged. A teacher that moves at a quicker pace will keep an older child from becoming bored and disinterested.
Does your child have special needs?
Then perhaps you will look for a teacher who has experience working with a kiddo that has developmental differences. Even if a teacher doesn’t have experience, look for one who is open to learning from you and your child’s team about ways that work well to approach musical learning with your tot.
What personalities does your child work well with?
Are there other teachers in her past that have been successful (or unsuccessful)? What about those teachers worked (or didn’t work)? Does your child work well with teachers who are warm and nurturing? Or does she rise to the occasion when she has a teacher who is more rigid and structured?
What setting does your child thrive in?
Is it important that your child be with a piano teacher who does private lessons? Or would your child enjoy the social aspect of a group lesson setting? Would your child work better with an independent online piano lesson setup?
When you approach the teacher-child relationship with a clearer understanding of what you are looking for in a teacher — based first and foremost on your child’s needs — you are setting your child up for success in his musical studies.