How (or who) should I choose? : LUSENET : Everything About Teaching and Learning the Piano : One Thread

I am interviewing piano teachers for my seven year old son. He's been taking lesson for about 9 months now and his teacher will be moving soon.

I have constructed an interview questionaire with point numbers assigned to each question -- a rating system, so to speak. My objective is whoever ends up the most points in my questionaire will be my son's teacher. I interviewed about 6 teachers and narrowed down to two of them. I've been undecided at this point because two of the top teachers get the same ranking on the questionaire and I like them both. My son rendered no opinion.

Teacher A graduated from a "national" conservatory and is a college instructor. She gives serveral recitals a year. I don't know much about classical music, but the local media has given her very good reviews. She teaches only 6 or 8 children.

Teacher B is a graduate student in Piano and, by chance, she is a student of teacher A. She teaches piano for several years and actually has about 25 young students while studying for her masters' degree.

Both of them teach from method books, although they use different ones. Teacher A charges two times more than teacher B.

I'm not rich or anything, but I think I can stretch myself to pay for the high priced teacher, although this stretch will require me to cut back on other things. I'm just wondering if it is musically worth to pay the extra given that my son playing level is primary at this point! I think you folks might be able to give me some insight because you can see it from both sides: as former students and current teachers. Do any of you care to give an opinion?


-- Undecided (, June 26, 2001


Well-l-l-l-l! It's terribly difficult to tell you which one to pick, without knowing what was on your questionnaire, not knowing these teachers, etc. But you said yourself you would choose whoever "scored highest." Since it was a tie, then by your system, they were equally qualified (probably not entirely true, but just going by your system.) Paying more certainly doesn't *guarantee* a better teacher. Have you talked with families whose children are students of these teachers? Is there one whose personality just seems more well-suited to your child? Is there one whose method books would be a smoother transition from the ones he previously studied in? (though having studied only 9 months makes this not terribly critical). Are they both equally enthusiastic about working with your son? I think that with a 7-yr old boy, enthusiasm is so critical. The first thing a young student needs to develop is just a true *love* of playing the piano!! He has the rest of his life to get better, but he has to get *hooked* first! If playing becomes a drudgery, or if he doesn't enjoy his lessons, or his music, and he ends up quitting in 2 or 3 years, what has been gained? My philosophy is, first and foremost, I need to be so excited about what I am teaching, and ignite that flame within each student! (btw, I have very little turnover of students, so it must be working). Of course there are many other important qualities a teacher must have, but it sounded like the 2 teachers were fairly equal on the things you considered. I hope I have perhaps given you some additional points for consideration. Keep us posted on what you decide and how it goes!! annie

-- annie (, June 26, 2001.

Does your son know any of the other students of either of these teachers? Do they both have piano parties? Do they both enjoy young children? Do they understand 7-year-old boys, how wiggly they can be and what music they would want to play on the piano?

Once you determine that a teacher is qualified in her field, the next consideration would be her personality and your son's opportunity to interact with other students his age. Piano can be a lonely instrument when you're the only one you know doing it. That's why students sometimes quit and take up band. Piano parties and other fun music stuff can make the difference.

I would not discriminate against the college professor just because she has chosen to teach older, more accomplished students, but it might be an indicator of where her interest lies.

Flo Arnold

-- Flo Arnold (, June 26, 2001.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ