It is good to be frugal; very good. However one must be careful where one cuts costs. Sending your children off to an unqualified teacher is exactly like sending them to an unqualified school teacher instead of regular school with qualified teachers. The result will almost always be significantly poorer.
I have had 3 children in piano lessons. I was very careful to pick the right one. They started young, which it a good thing, and I insisted on them learning first by note, then by ear. That is a good suggestion to go to a recital, I've been to them, and the teacher always plays a complicated but beautiful piece of music. Plus, when she speaks, you can tell her love for her music, and her students! Also, when hunting a good teacher, I have a boy, who is very talented, and has a good "ear" for music, but, does not learn like my girls. The first teacher I tried would not even try with him. He was so busy. But, the teacher i've had for many years now, and has truly worked a work of art in all 3 of my children's playing. She wrote a letter of recommendation for my first child entering Bible College. And now, my second child is headed the same way. And will also, receive a high recommendation. This teacher is wonderful, she truly cares, and loves what she does. She has taken young childen, and helped them mature into wonderful musical artist. My son will still be taking lessons since he is only 14, but he has already written one of his own pieces of music, and she allowed him to play it in the recital. It was beautiful. His progress has been outstanding, and she brags on his progress often. I love her positive outlook. A good music teacher can help in the forming of your childs confidence, and knowledge of the musical arts.
When someone asks me to refer a piano teacher, I usually tell them to check with a local college. Sometimes students will work for less money than people who already have a degree. Also, IMHO you can make a much worse choice for a music teacher. Dont hesitate to ask. The music department might even make a referral.
I have taught piano full time since 1998 and am certified to teach several different methods. When selecting a music teacher, look for someone who is positive and enthusiastic about music and enjoys working with children. You want someone who will inspire and motivate your child. Avoid teachers who fuss at and criticize their students unless you want your child to hate music!
Find a teacher your child really likes! A good personality fit can make all the difference! Also remember that different students have different learning styles and one method may not be right for every student. A good teacher will discover how your child learns best and modify the instruction to suit your child's unique needs and interests.
Classical training is wonderful, but students should also be able to learn songs they really like and want to learn to play. I allow my students to pick a "fun" song to work on along with the standard classical repertoire to keep them motivated.
A good teacher will incorporate ear training, technique, music theory, note reading and music appreciation at developmentally appropriate levels in their instruction and will expose students to a wide variety of musical styles. I suggest you visit and talk to different teachers and ask if you can observe some lessons before making your choice.
When observing lessons, notice how the teacher interacts with the students. Do they like him or her? Are instructions clear? Do the students play well? Are assignments and practice objectives written down at each lesson? These are some of the things you should take into consideration when making your selection.
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