Posted By: Ansonflex
Need Advice on Finding Quality Piano Teacher - 06/26/03 08:53 PM
Hi to all the people on this forum! I've found this forum by accident and have been reading some great posts ever since.
I need some advice on finding a quality piano teacher. I am a 27 year old contemplateing a return to the world of pianos after taking a 13 year break. The break was mainly due to childhood stupidity and lack of appreciation for what I had and I have been regretting it ever since. Too embarrased to even tell you folks what I gave all this up for!! At the time when I had stopped playing, I was breaking into the more advance stages, playing Chopin Preludes, Waltzes, Noctournes etc. I was raised in Australia and so I took part in the Australian Music Board grading system (grades 1-8 with 1 being a beginner and 8 being the most advanced before obtaining teaching credentials). I was at grade 6. I need advice in finding a teacher that will get me back to that level and beyond. I've been calling some people in the phone book and it has been a tougher process than I had thought. Again, I had taken for granted that my mother had done all this work for me when I started at 8 years old. Seems like everyone promises to be able to get me there but when I ask how many students they have taught Chopin, Rachmaninoff etc to they tell me "NONE". Maybe part of the problem is that I live in San Antonio TX now where there are not alot of piano players compared to the North eg New York, New England, Chicago etc.
Should I continue talking to these "Musical Centers" in the yellow pages or try someone at the university? Any suggestions? Tips?? Thanks!!
Posted By: .rvaga*
Re: Need Advice on Finding Quality Piano Teacher - 06/26/03 11:34 PM
I would definitely suggest calling your local colleges/universities. At a university, ask for the phone number or email address of the Artist in Residence (that's a formal title), or any other piano faculty THAT TEACH PIANO MAJORS.
If they are too busy, there would undoubtedly be graduate students that are moonlighting, and you might even find grad students that would rather come to your home.
Don't bypass small, private colleges in your search (or even community colleges). The smaller schools often have amazing talent on their faculty, and not so high-pressure in disposition.
Another option is in the yellow pages, usually under "music - instruction." The local chapter of the MTNA will have a phone number, and they have a referral service based on your needs, narrowed down by teachers that live a reasonable distance from you.
The larger piano stores often have active studios, it's good PR. You could make some calls and find out about the qualifications of their teachers. When I was in grad school working on a doctorate in piano performance, I spent one afternoon/evening teaching in a piano store every week for a couple of years: it was a very good studio with an excellent instrument. The pay was peanuts, but that's the way it goes (good deal for students though!).
Texas is not a backwash state! If anything, it's one of the most cultured states in terms of music and the arts, though I don't know about San Antonio. Texas has Longhorns, Cliburn, a sitting president (in order of importance <grin!>). Your problem will only be trying to match what you need, with the right teacher.
Posted By: Phlebas
Re: Need Advice on Finding Quality Piano Teacher - 06/26/03 11:56 PM
San Antonio is a pretty big city, and Texas is a very musical state. Keep looking. There must be good teachers there. The college university suggestion was a good one too.
Posted By: subarus
Re: Need Advice on Finding Quality Piano Teacher - 06/27/03 12:23 AM
Hi, Colleges, Universities are good bets. Also dont forget local music teachers associations. I also find that my piano tuner seems to know who is who in business.
I know a person in situation similar to you. The teacher suggested that she start with materials for grades 3 or 4 instead. She was initially dissapointed being graded that low, but worked her way up very rapidly to gr8.. Good teachers would typically audition you and suggest a starting grade for you.. so be prepared
Posted By: Ansonflex
Re: Need Advice on Finding Quality Piano Teacher - 06/27/03 06:12 AM
Thanks for taking the time to give me some great advice everyone!! People on this forum are so generous with their time and knowledge! I will continue to call universities, colleges and musical academies in the yellow pages to find a teacher for me.
Now onto my next obstacle...every teacher promises the moon. How do you judge a quality teacher that actually has the potential to take you to an advanced level apart from someone who will try to say anything to get you on their roster? ie. How to judge the real quality teacher vs a mediocre one? Should criteria include music college degrees, performance history ?? I hope I'm not being to fussy but my mind set is that if I am going to spend big $$ on a grand piano I better find a teacher to get me good again!!
Any help will be appreciated!!
Posted By: subarus
Re: Need Advice on Finding Quality Piano Teacher - 06/27/03 12:19 PM
I dont see that as an obstacle.. there is nothing stopping me from changing teachers. If werent for my 1st teacher, I would not have any idea the true meaning of 'bad teacher'.
What makes me think my current teacher is a good one ? well, she makes me motivate myself, I see constant and gradual improvements , she give me opportunity to perform and meet other students, she solve problems.
That doesnt mean that I will understudy with her forever.. I know (and hope) she will not be able to further motivate me... then I know to find a new teacher.. to which I am sure she would be more than happy to intro one
Originally posted by Ansonflex:
Now onto my next obstacle...every teacher promises the moon. How do you judge a quality teacher that actually has the potential to take you to an advanced level apart from someone who will try to say anything to get you on their roster? Any help will be appreciated!!
Posted By: Phlebas
Re: Need Advice on Finding Quality Piano Teacher - 06/27/03 12:54 PM
College degrees and performance history make great additions to marketing material, and look great framed on a studio wall, but they do not always translate into ability as a teacher.
You have to first ask yourself what you want out of lessons, and what you would like to learn about playing the piano. Your answer should have a lot more depth than "I want to learn to play harder music" (I know you didn't say that, just an example).
Remember, you learn a lot about piano, music and yourself through the process of lessons, practicing and listening.
Once you have identified what you want, try to find a teacher that can fairly closely align him/herself with your aspirations.
It is important to have an interview with your prospective teacher(s) where you can play a little for them, and have a discussion about what you want, how they teach, and what both your expectations are. How will they handle a technical problem you have? How do they deal with wrist, hand or arm pain in their students? Etc. There topics you can discuss that are too numerous to list here.
The good teachers are not the ones who will rush or exagerate their qualifications in order to get you on their roster. My current teacher was a little hesitant to take on another student - which I thought was a good sign (unless of course she has way too many students).