It quickly gives them a sense of success and raises their confidence levels. It develops their creativity and expression. It fine tunes their acim teacher, helping them to develop coordination and poise. It encourages discipline and routine. No wonder that learning to play an instrument has been shown to improve cognitive ability and is associated with high achievement.
Amongst all musical instruments, one is unique. Piano music is complete with both melody and harmony. Most other instruments only play one strand of the music. This means that they need to play in an ensemble to achieve the full harmonic effect. Pianists gain valuable insight into the composition of the music earlier.
However, even with all these benefits, there are still stories of people who have not progressed and even those who have been traumatized by sour, over-strict teachers. Music should be a constant source of joy throughout life. It is nothing short of a disaster if a piano teacher turns the learning process into a dull and fearful exercise. Teachers should be opening their students’ eyes to opportunity, pattern, wonder and enjoyment. Above all, learning to play the piano should be enjoyable!
Here are four questions to help you recognise a good teacher,
1. What does the teacher know about music? Teachers who genuinely understand the language of music will have degree-level expertise. They will have background knowledge of composers and styles. Importantly, they will also recognise the musical aptitudes of their students. You could ask the teacher what they think of a particular piece of music. It will become apparent if they talk about it with knowledge and understanding. A good teacher will be able to answer parents’ and children’s questions about any piece of music. A good teacher will understand different genres and infect students with enthusiasm. There is more to teaching the piano than just sticking with tutorial schemes. You could also ask about the progress of previous students. If teachers do not give their students a good education in music as the learn to play the piano, many more of their students will give up before they fully develop their skills.
2. Is the teacher an accomplished pianist? You may not think your child needs an accomplished pianist to teach them from the beginning. But you could not be more wrong. From the outset, it is essential that good techniques are developed. The quality of the foundations determines to how far students can develop their talents. A good piano teacher will methodically build a platform which can support the students in pursuing their talents as they grow and develop their own interests. There is nothing more frustrating than having dreams and ambitions which are out of reach! It is a false economy to choose a cheaper teacher until you discover whether your child is destined to take their skills to a high level. Many students have wasted time and talent and become discouraged because their teachers did not know what they were doing! In the end, the ‘cost per progress’ can be much higher than for a quality teacher with whom the student makes rapid progress
3. Can the teacher inspire and teach? Not every high achieving pianist will be a good teacher. Nor will every teacher be right for every child. It’s about temperament. Children need to feel relaxed and engaged to learn effectively. As a guideline, teachers who are encouraging and inspiring will facilitate learning better. This is a personal thing and some teachers will be more appropriate for a particular child than others. Nearly every teacher will want to meet up before committing to lessons. It is a valuable time for you to assess if this is the right teacher for you child. Meanwhile, the teacher will be assessing your child to see if he or she is ready to start lessons. The teacher may be noting your child’s interest in playing and be looking for traits of their musical talents. You, in turn, will sense quickly whether the teacher is tuning into your child’s personality. Teachers who are sensitive to their students will help them to understand the nuances and develop a personal style. In addition, it is also helpful to speak with other parents locally as long as you remember that no teacher is right for every child.