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What questions should I ask to "interview" a piano teacher? #603903
03/16/06 01:22 AM
03/16/06 01:22 AM
Joined: May 2003
Posts: 1,001
California
virtuoso_735 Offline OP
1000 Post Club Member
virtuoso_735  Offline OP
1000 Post Club Member

Joined: May 2003
Posts: 1,001
California
Hi everyone,

I am in the process of looking for a new piano teacher. I will setting up a few appointments to meet them, play something, and ask questions. I will choose my new piano teacher from that. I am a fairly advanced piano student (Chopin etudes, Rachmaninoff preludes, etc), so I suppose that my needs may be more demanding. What questions should I ask other than obvious ones like what they charge? What should I ask them so I can see what kind of piano teacher they will be and how good they are? Should I ask them to play something for me? If so, what? Also, do piano teachers charage for the first meeting to discuss qeustions and such?

Thanks.


"If music be the food of love, play on." -William Shakespeare
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Re: What questions should I ask to "interview" a piano teacher? #603904
03/16/06 01:56 AM
03/16/06 01:56 AM
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 9,868
pianojerome Offline
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pianojerome  Offline
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Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 9,868
The best way to find out what kind of teachers they will be is to actually have a few lessons with them.

I wouldn't necessarily go "shopping" for teachers, asking a few questions and then going on to the next.

If you meet the teacher and he/she is nice to you, has some good comments on your playing, and charges reasonably within your range, then end your search there. If, after a couple months, you don't feel like it is the right teacher for you, then look for a new one.

But definately give a teacher more than just a 30-minute interview (or however long it is).


Sam
Re: What questions should I ask to "interview" a piano teacher? #603905
03/16/06 02:22 AM
03/16/06 02:22 AM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 22,295
Victoria, BC
BruceD Offline
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BruceD  Offline
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Joined: May 2001
Posts: 22,295
Victoria, BC
... adding to what Sam has said :

It would be a good idea if you have an understanding with your teacher from the start. That is: if for any reason you end up not feeling comfortable with your him/her after two or three lessons you can stop lessons and look for another teacher.

I'm also in the position of looking for a teacher here, and that's the mutual verbal agreement I made with my first "candidate" on the telephone today.

Regards,


BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190
Re: What questions should I ask to "interview" a piano teacher? #603906
03/16/06 11:43 AM
03/16/06 11:43 AM
Joined: Nov 2004
Posts: 650
Pacific NW
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pianoanne Offline
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pianoanne  Offline
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Joined: Nov 2004
Posts: 650
Pacific NW
I would ask them to play for you. That could tell you a lot right there about them. At your level you need someone highly professional, who could demonstrate to you while teaching. Also, ask about some of their other students. Have many gone on to major in music in college, won any awards? What about the teacher's training? Where did they study, do they have advanced degrees like a DMA, who they studied with, etc...?

Re: What questions should I ask to "interview" a piano teacher? #603907
03/16/06 12:01 PM
03/16/06 12:01 PM
Joined: Nov 2003
Posts: 310
Spring Lake, MI
Frank III Offline
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Frank III  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Nov 2003
Posts: 310
Spring Lake, MI
I think if you ask around, you'll get a pretty good idea who the best teachers are in your area. If you are able to, talk to other students who take from a particular teacher you are considering.


Frank III
Re: What questions should I ask to "interview" a piano teacher? #603908
03/16/06 12:09 PM
03/16/06 12:09 PM
Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 475
Rocky Mountains
Hobie Offline
Full Member
Hobie  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 475
Rocky Mountains
Virtuostic

Look for someone who you feel comfortable talking with. The ability to communicate is so important for teachers. The best teachers are very good at listening to their students and communicating an effective plan for improvement. You should know your own goals and express them since you are a very different student than someone who wants to play pop music from fake books. Not every piano teacher can teach the more difficult classical repertoire.


I hope this helps!


"Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others." Groucho Marx
Re: What questions should I ask to "interview" a piano teacher? #603909
03/16/06 12:10 PM
03/16/06 12:10 PM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 22,295
Victoria, BC
BruceD Offline
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BruceD  Offline
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Joined: May 2001
Posts: 22,295
Victoria, BC
I don't feel it necessary to have the teacher perform for me, although it is certainly important that s/he be able to demonstrate when necessary. What I want to know - and only lessons will do that - is whether or not s/he can get me to realize my full potential as a pianist; whether s/he can see what my needs are and respond appropriately to those needs.

Degrees are good, I guess, but his/her degrees aren't of prime importance to me; what is important is whether or not s/he can teach. Not all good teachers are performers and certainly not all performers are good teachers. We've heard too many tales of excellent performers who can't teach at all.

I'm not really too concerned about the teacher's successful other students, although it's of interest to me. While certainly helped by the teacher, other students may have gone on to further successes because of their own innate talents as much as from the teaching they have had.

It still boils down to what the teacher can do to develop my skills as a pianist and how s/he does it - the credentials and reputation are secondary. What has brought him/her success with others may not work as well for me. Only a few trial lessons will let me know whether we are going to work well together.

To pursue the "what works for me may not work for you" idea, I should add that if the teacher's ability to perform for you is important, then ask the teacher to perform for you. If the teacher's reputation based on past successes is important for you, then certainly ask what successes her previous students have achieved. There's certainly nothing wrong with asking what the teacher's credentials are, either. If you're going to be dealing with a teacher from a Conservatory or University who has had some successes with previous students, then probably his/her credentials, reputation and performance abilities are probably already known in the musical community.

Regards,


BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190
Re: What questions should I ask to "interview" a piano teacher? #603910
03/16/06 02:07 PM
03/16/06 02:07 PM
Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 8,483
Ohio, USA
signa Offline
8000 Post Club Member
signa  Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 8,483
Ohio, USA
in your case, i think a teacher has to be a really good pianist first, and after that 2nd important thing is if you're comfortable talking with the teacher.

if the teacher is from a conservatory, i'd check him/her out at the recital or something to see how good that teacher would play. for some reason, i would respect a teacher more if the teacher is an excellent pianist him/herself (like my teacher).

Re: What questions should I ask to "interview" a piano teacher? #603911
03/16/06 06:52 PM
03/16/06 06:52 PM
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 808
Whittier, California
Contrapunctus Offline
500 Post Club Member
Contrapunctus  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 808
Whittier, California
I agree with BruceD on this subject. You see, some one can be an excellent pianist musically speaking, but not be able to teach well. Of course, I do think a teacher should be good technically, becase if they are not, they might lead the student into bad habits. But whether the teacher is a great artist or not does not make a good or bad teacher. Some people just have an innate sense of how to teach. Some people don't. The only way you'll know is if you have a lesson with the teacher. I know for me it would only take one lesson- I can tell if I'll like the teacher or not within a half hour. It might be different for other folks. One thing I think is that you should walk out of the class feeling that you have things to work on but yet are an exceptionally talented pianist(or however you feel good about yourself). I don't agree with teachers who use the 'push the students by making them feel bad' method. Sure, a student will work harder to prove to a teacher that they're good, but that's not an optimum way to go.


I don't know what the meaning of life is- I'm too busy to figure it out.

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