Toledo Piano Teachers Association
Choosing a Teacher
Music learning is Beneficial for All
Students taking music lessons now will determine the place of music in America and the value society places on music tomorrow. Regardless of what these students ultimately choose as a profession, music making will remain a part of their lives, whether it’s listening to music, attending concerts, or serving as leaders in arts associations, community, and church music programs.

Benefits of Music Study:
Hearing music stimulates the mind.
Music instruction enhances abstract reasoning skills.
Neuroscience research shows increased neuron bridge development in the brain where piano has been studied
diligently over time.
Grade school students who took music lessons generally scored higher on cognitive development tests.
In older people, music helps lower depression and decreases loneliness.
Playing an instrument strengthens eye-hand coordination and fine motor skills.
Music lessons teach discipline, dedication and enable students to achieve goals.
Piano music is much enjoyed when shared with others.

Key Questions to consider before starting your teacher search will save you time and help you find the best teacher
for your needs.
For you or your child, what do you want to achieve from piano lessons?
What are your musical tastes, ambitions, and goals?
What musical style(s) do you want to learn?
Are you more interested in the technical or social aspects of playing piano?
Would you enjoy taking a group class or would you feel more comfortable with private lessons?
How much time do you intend to spend playing the piano?
Is your goal to play proficiently in the local community band or in your church?
Do you want to learn notation and music theory? Do you want to learn to play by ear? Or both?

What is the Parent’s Role?
Parental support in the learning process is vital. Whether or not you know anything about music, take time to listen to your child play, provide and encourage exclusive practice time on a quality instrument, and celebrate his or her continued accomplishments.

How Do I Find the Right Teacher?
You’ll want a teacher who will inspire and nurture a student’s musical growth and instill lifelong love of music. When seeking a music teacher:

Consult with friends, family and others who who are acquainted with teachers in your community.
Ask for recommendations from local music teacher organizations, music stores, schools or churches.
Arrange to interview prospective teachers, in person if possible, before making a commitment.
Ask permission to attend a recital of the prospective teacher’s students.

Interviewing Prospective Teachers is good way of finding one that meets your needs. When interviewing a prospective teacher, pay attention to how you communicate with each other. The prospective teacher should be open and willing to share information about their experience, skills, and style.

What is your professional and educational experience in music?
What is your teaching experience?
What is your teaching philosophy?
What age groups do you teach?
What experience do you have teaching special needs students?
What are your certifications?
Is teaching piano your main activity?
As a parent, am I allowed or encouraged to attend lessons?
What types of ongoing professional development do you participate in?
Do you have a written studio policy? Will you review it with me?
Do you regularly evaluate your students' progress?
What instructional materials do you use?
What kinds of music do you teach?
What other elements are part of your teaching curriculum?
Where is the lesson to be held?
Do you offer group lessons?
Do you require students to perform in-studio recitals during the year?
Do you offer other performance opportunities for your students, such as festivals and competitions?
Do you use technology in your studio, such as computers, music instruction software, digital keyboards?
How much practice time do you require each day?
What do you expect of your students?
What are your fees, duration, terms, and conditions of employment?
Can I get references and testimonials?

Teaching and performance experience are important when considering a prospective teacher. Solid teaching experience suggests they are able to successfully communicate their knowledge to you. Performance experience ensures that your teacher is skilled enough musically take you beyond the basics.

Remember that teaching piano is a professional vocation. Most private teachers now have a minimum of a Bachelor's Degree in Music; many have more. Look for a teacher who is actively involved in participating in musical activities, such as giving solo recitals, participating in chamber music ensembles, or conducting/attending workshops, as well as maintaining active membership in musical organizations.

A good piano teacher is patient and should make your lessons fun, relaxed, and informative. The ideal teacher is passionate about music and able to dedicate herself/himself to you.  Enjoy your journey.