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#2024417 - 01/31/13 03:05 AM What and How Should I Look For an Instructor?
Mr. Cid Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/09/13
Posts: 19
Loc: Minneapolis, MN of the USA
So, I finally got my first job pretty excited! And since I have my job I feel like I'm ready to find a great and competent piano teacher.
The question is how would I go about finding a very good one with decent rates?
What should I look for in a piano teacher?
Does having experience in all styles of piano make him a great teacher?
Is it good to have more than one private teacher?
Is there a difference between a college and a concert teacher?
Do rates go higher if they travel to you?
Which is more ideal more lessons in a week or once per week?
I have so many questions but I do not want to overload. I would also appreciate the responses or an inbox! Thank you very much!

-Mr. Cid
_________________________
Just your average beginner that is passionate at what he loves! MUSIC AND INSTRUMENTS!

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#2024759 - 01/31/13 04:40 PM Re: What and How Should I Look For an Instructor? [Re: Mr. Cid]
Sand Tiger Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/25/12
Posts: 1007
Loc: Southern California
I am sure some folks will answer the specific questions you posed. In the meantime, Nancy Williams outlines a three step process at her blog. Step one is below, click on the "next post" button at the bottom of the entry, to see the next post in the series.

http://www.nancywilliamspiano.com/2013/01/14/how-to-find-good-piano-teacher-getting-started/

I have no connection with Ms. Williams or her blog.
_________________________
my piano uploads

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#2024934 - 01/31/13 10:57 PM Re: What and How Should I Look For an Instructor? [Re: Mr. Cid]
Bobpickle Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014


Registered: 05/24/12
Posts: 1383
Loc: Cameron Park, California
I'd second Sand Tiger's suggestion to read the 3 successive articles on that website having just read them myself.

This is a good starting place: http://www.mtnacertification.org/

I'll simply add that you should look for and lean towards someone with credentials.

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#2024959 - 01/31/13 11:56 PM Re: What and How Should I Look For an Instructor? [Re: Mr. Cid]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4414
Loc: San Jose, CA
Cid, many consider it a disservice to suggest to people who are new to the forum, that they use the 'Search' feature. It is a temperamental creature... and some consider that suggesting it means that we are too lazy to answer you in the first place. But for your question, I happen to know that we had a long and detailed discussion on this very topic, within the last two years. I think it would be an advantage to you to hear the many voices which enriched the discussion... and you can even revive the thread, if you want. And then it will be current again.

This kind of discussion is ever-new, and is always useful to at least several members.
_________________________
Clef


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#2025151 - 02/01/13 08:59 AM Re: What and How Should I Look For an Instructor? [Re: Mr. Cid]
PianoStudent88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 3160
Loc: Maine
As part of your teacher search: don't send them emails in bold italics.

I would address your questions, but I find it so completely irritating to read your posts in what comes across as breathless over-excited shouting, that I'm just completely uninterested.

Regular typeface is easier to read than bold italics.
_________________________
Ebaug(maj7)

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#2025170 - 02/01/13 09:38 AM Re: What and How Should I Look For an Instructor? [Re: Mr. Cid]
malkin Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/09
Posts: 2494
Loc: *sigh* Salt Lake City
I thought this thread was going to be about what to wear and how to fix your hair for a lesson!
_________________________
A good student is one who makes the teacher feel like a good teacher.

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#2025173 - 02/01/13 09:40 AM Re: What and How Should I Look For an Instructor? [Re: Mr. Cid]
Sand Tiger Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/25/12
Posts: 1007
Loc: Southern California
Here are two old threads:
old thread 1

old 2

The Nancy Williams' links are giving an error this morning. To summarize: What kind of music (classical, jazz, popular songs)? How much time are you willing to commit? 15 minutes a day, an hour a day, two hours? What are your musical goals? Examples might be: to play songs from a fake book and have people sing along, learn to play a few pieces that you already know, or play some high level classical masterworks?

Find some teachers using the directories, or a piano store, or piano technician. Interview them over the phone. Be sure the teacher has some adult students or is comfortable with adult students, many are not.

Many teachers will offer one free lesson, but it often takes a few lessons to make an informed decision.

The bold italics are annoying. If the original poster is as insistent in person about stylistic things like that, it may cause personality friction. As to a few specifics, most start out with one teacher, one lesson per week, 30, 45 minutes or one hour. Most teachers prefer that you come to them.
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#2025297 - 02/01/13 12:38 PM Re: What and How Should I Look For an Instructor? [Re: Mr. Cid]
Whizbang Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/27/12
Posts: 755
If you know with all your heart that you are in love with a particular type of music, it will behoove you to find a teacher who also loves that type of music.

Different teachers have different rate structures, but certainly some teachers will charge additional fees for travel.

I wouldn't attempt to work with more than one instructor at a time. If you're like me, you'll find it sufficiently challenging to improve one set of assignments per week, much less two.
_________________________
Whizbang
amateur ragtime pianist

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#2025369 - 02/01/13 03:06 PM Re: What and How Should I Look For an Instructor? [Re: Mr. Cid]
Rostosky Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/30/11
Posts: 3339
Loc: Lost in cyberspace.in the UK.
A tall teacher can be good too, say over six three, then they can loom over you and watch your fingers carefully.
_________________________


Rise like lions after slumber,in unvanquishable number. Shake your chains to earth like dew
which in sleep has fallen on you. Ye are many,they are few. Shelley

Founder and creator ofRostoskys 13th crystal skull project

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#2025375 - 02/01/13 03:09 PM Re: What and How Should I Look For an Instructor? [Re: Rostosky]
Toastie Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/10/12
Posts: 210
Loc: UK
Originally Posted By: Rostosky
A tall teacher can be good too, say over six three, then they can loom over you and watch your fingers carefully.


This very good advice. I feel it's also important that this tall teacher has those half moon glasses so they can glare sternly at you over the top of them.
_________________________
Complete Beginner August 2012
'Play Piano' Book 1 - finished
'Play Piano' Book 2 - finished
Grade 1 Sight Reading - finished
Grade 1 Exam Pieces
Grade 1 Scales
The Easy Piano Collection Classical Gold
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#2025381 - 02/01/13 03:19 PM Re: What and How Should I Look For an Instructor? [Re: Mr. Cid]
Rostosky Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/30/11
Posts: 3339
Loc: Lost in cyberspace.in the UK.
Thanks, its great to have a sense of (a.) belonging somewhere on this planet and (b.) mentioning a tall teacher.

I totally agree about the glasses, forgot to mention that a tall teacher also has other advantages, say if they have halitosis, the taller they are the better so when they loom and peer over their glasses, their breathing doesnt curl up the music score and make it more difficult to sight read than it allready is ( despite those that say it isnt too difficult and then say its a skill you can easily pick up over 27 years of hard work)
_________________________


Rise like lions after slumber,in unvanquishable number. Shake your chains to earth like dew
which in sleep has fallen on you. Ye are many,they are few. Shelley

Founder and creator ofRostoskys 13th crystal skull project

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#2025384 - 02/01/13 03:26 PM Re: What and How Should I Look For an Instructor? [Re: Rostosky]
Toastie Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/10/12
Posts: 210
Loc: UK
Where can I find this teacher please? He sounds really lovely, with his bad breath and his nasty manner. I'd really like to replace mine with him, as I fear I'm having too much fun learning piano. It ought to be about hard work; hard work and a tall, insulting teacher - that's the way to go.
_________________________
Complete Beginner August 2012
'Play Piano' Book 1 - finished
'Play Piano' Book 2 - finished
Grade 1 Sight Reading - finished
Grade 1 Exam Pieces
Grade 1 Scales
The Easy Piano Collection Classical Gold
Yamaha U3

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#2025392 - 02/01/13 03:44 PM Re: What and How Should I Look For an Instructor? [Re: Toastie]
Rostosky Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/30/11
Posts: 3339
Loc: Lost in cyberspace.in the UK.
Originally Posted By: Toastie
Where can I find this teacher please? He sounds really lovely, with his bad breath and his nasty manner. I'd really like to replace mine with him, as I fear I'm having too much fun learning piano. It ought to be about hard work; hard work and a tall, insulting teacher - that's the way to go.


you forgot the riding crop, an essential piece of kit for any serious teacher of the manipulation of ivories. This can be used twofold, to urge you on to attain correct tempo ( whack on the fingers of both hands (separate or together method) and also to punish for incorrect fingering or dynamics. (again HT or HS )
_________________________


Rise like lions after slumber,in unvanquishable number. Shake your chains to earth like dew
which in sleep has fallen on you. Ye are many,they are few. Shelley

Founder and creator ofRostoskys 13th crystal skull project

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#2026452 - 02/03/13 06:11 PM Re: What and How Should I Look For an Instructor? [Re: PianoStudent88]
Mr. Cid Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/09/13
Posts: 19
Loc: Minneapolis, MN of the USA
Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88
As part of your teacher search: don't send them emails in bold italics.

I would address your questions, but I find it so completely irritating to read your posts in what comes across as breathless over-excited shouting, that I'm just completely uninterested.

Regular typeface is easier to read than bold italics.


Thanks for the obvious information, Champ! Now please type something that relates to what I am asking.
_________________________
Just your average beginner that is passionate at what he loves! MUSIC AND INSTRUMENTS!

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#2026453 - 02/03/13 06:13 PM Re: What and How Should I Look For an Instructor? [Re: Sand Tiger]
Mr. Cid Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/09/13
Posts: 19
Loc: Minneapolis, MN of the USA
Originally Posted By: Sand Tiger
I am sure some folks will answer the specific questions you posed. In the meantime, Nancy Williams outlines a three step process at her blog. Step one is below, click on the "next post" button at the bottom of the entry, to see the next post in the series.

http://www.nancywilliamspiano.com/2013/01/14/how-to-find-good-piano-teacher-getting-started/

I have no connection with Ms. Williams or her blog.

Thanks for the information, Tiger. I appreciate it!
_________________________
Just your average beginner that is passionate at what he loves! MUSIC AND INSTRUMENTS!

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#2026464 - 02/03/13 06:25 PM Re: What and How Should I Look For an Instructor? [Re: Sand Tiger]
Mr. Cid Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/09/13
Posts: 19
Loc: Minneapolis, MN of the USA
Originally Posted By: Sand Tiger
Here are two old threads:
old thread 1

old 2

The Nancy Williams' links are giving an error this morning. To summarize: What kind of music (classical, jazz, popular songs)? How much time are you willing to commit? 15 minutes a day, an hour a day, two hours? What are your musical goals? Examples might be: to play songs from a fake book and have people sing along, learn to play a few pieces that you already know, or play some high level classical masterworks?

Find some teachers using the directories, or a piano store, or piano technician. Interview them over the phone. Be sure the teacher has some adult students or is comfortable with adult students, many are not.

Many teachers will offer one free lesson, but it often takes a few lessons to make an informed decision.

The bold italics are annoying. If the original poster is as insistent in person about stylistic things like that, it may cause personality friction. As to a few specifics, most start out with one teacher, one lesson per week, 30, 45 minutes or one hour. Most teachers prefer that you come to them.


Yeah, my style of typing may be annoying to some but in all honesty its just writing and I like it, So just deal with it.

Now about the teachers; would it cost extra if they were to travel to me? Also, I figured one lesson wouldn't be enough to find out if they for me. So if they do offer a free lesson, should I try to make the most of the lesson to see if we click well (that and considering I talked on the phone with them.)

P.S. What is personality Friction? Help me out here please.
_________________________
Just your average beginner that is passionate at what he loves! MUSIC AND INSTRUMENTS!

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#2026471 - 02/03/13 06:35 PM Re: What and How Should I Look For an Instructor? [Re: Whizbang]
Mr. Cid Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/09/13
Posts: 19
Loc: Minneapolis, MN of the USA
Originally Posted By: Whizbang
If you know with all your heart that you are in love with a particular type of music, it will behoove you to find a teacher who also loves that type of music.

Different teachers have different rate structures, but certainly some teachers will charge additional fees for travel.

I wouldn't attempt to work with more than one instructor at a time. If you're like me, you'll find it sufficiently challenging to improve one set of assignments per week, much less two.

Well I love most types of music (at least on an instrument.) But am a big fan of Ragtime, Jazz, Classical/Contemporary, and Renaissance/Medieval Folk music.
I'm sure there are many teachers out there that specialize in the musical genres I stated above but I have yet to even find a teacher so we will see. Also, would only one lesson per week would suffice, because I would like to do more than one lesson per week.

P.S. I see that you are a ragtime player. I would like to play ragtime but I find a lot of the sheets a bit hard for my level, especially with the jumps and whatnot.
_________________________
Just your average beginner that is passionate at what he loves! MUSIC AND INSTRUMENTS!

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#2026475 - 02/03/13 06:40 PM Re: What and How Should I Look For an Instructor? [Re: Bobpickle]
Mr. Cid Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/09/13
Posts: 19
Loc: Minneapolis, MN of the USA
Originally Posted By: Bobpickle
I'd second Sand Tiger's suggestion to read the 3 successive articles on that website having just read them myself.

This is a good starting place: http://www.mtnacertification.org/

I'll simply add that you should look for and lean towards someone with credentials.


This is actually a great website from what I hear. Also, what you tell me are what some of my friends tell me. That I should look for someone with credentials. But, I hear stories of phenomenal pianist that are very good at teaching. Should I give a glance in that direction as well?
_________________________
Just your average beginner that is passionate at what he loves! MUSIC AND INSTRUMENTS!

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#2026480 - 02/03/13 06:44 PM Re: What and How Should I Look For an Instructor? [Re: Jeff Clef]
Mr. Cid Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/09/13
Posts: 19
Loc: Minneapolis, MN of the USA
Originally Posted By: Jeff Clef
Cid, many consider it a disservice to suggest to people who are new to the forum, that they use the 'Search' feature. It is a temperamental creature... and some consider that suggesting it means that we are too lazy to answer you in the first place. But for your question, I happen to know that we had a long and detailed discussion on this very topic, within the last two years. I think it would be an advantage to you to hear the many voices which enriched the discussion... and you can even revive the thread, if you want. And then it will be current again.

This kind of discussion is ever-new, and is always useful to at least several members.

Do you have the link to it or the title? It sounds like something I need to look at.
_________________________
Just your average beginner that is passionate at what he loves! MUSIC AND INSTRUMENTS!

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#2026483 - 02/03/13 06:51 PM Re: What and How Should I Look For an Instructor? [Re: Mr. Cid]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11648
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: Mr. Cid

[i][b]Yeah, my style of typing may be annoying to some but in all honesty its just writing and I like it, So just deal with it.

Is not answering a good way to deal with it?

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#2026502 - 02/03/13 07:39 PM Re: What and How Should I Look For an Instructor? [Re: keystring]
Mr. Cid Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/09/13
Posts: 19
Loc: Minneapolis, MN of the USA
Originally Posted By: keystring
Originally Posted By: Mr. Cid

Yeah, my style of typing may be annoying to some but in all honesty its just writing and I like it, So just deal with it.

Is not answering a good way to deal with it?


That is totally on you. I have no say on how you deal with my writing. So just do what you need to do to make yourself feel better after looking at my writing. I won't care.
_________________________
Just your average beginner that is passionate at what he loves! MUSIC AND INSTRUMENTS!

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#2026505 - 02/03/13 07:45 PM Re: What and How Should I Look For an Instructor? [Re: Mr. Cid]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11648
Loc: Canada
It is a matter of respect. When people whose help you are seeking tell you that your style hurts their eyes, it is disrespectful to continue simply because it's your own taste, and unrealistic to then expect people to take the time to help you, when you won't help them.

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#2026518 - 02/03/13 08:24 PM Re: What and How Should I Look For an Instructor? [Re: keystring]
Mr. Cid Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/09/13
Posts: 19
Loc: Minneapolis, MN of the USA
Originally Posted By: keystring
It is a matter of respect. When people whose help you are seeking tell you that your style hurts their eyes, it is disrespectful to continue simply because it's your own taste, and unrealistic to then expect people to take the time to help you, when you won't help them.


First and foremost, they simply found it annoying to look at, THIS DID NOT IMPLY that it hurt their eyes.

Secondly, I came here for answers and you guys obviously came here to give me those answers. I did not make a topic just so I can listen and see people complain about the way I type. You either deal with it or just don't respond or however you deal with it


Edited by Mr. Cid (02/03/13 08:25 PM)
_________________________
Just your average beginner that is passionate at what he loves! MUSIC AND INSTRUMENTS!

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#2026599 - 02/03/13 11:52 PM Re: What and How Should I Look For an Instructor? [Re: Mr. Cid]
Whizbang Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/27/12
Posts: 755
Originally Posted By: Mr. Cid

Well I love most types of music (at least on an instrument.) But am a big fan of Ragtime, Jazz, Classical/Contemporary, and Renaissance/Medieval Folk music.

I'm sure there are many teachers out there that specialize in the musical genres I stated above but I have yet to even find a teacher so we will see.


In my experience, it was difficult to find a teacher who specialized in a particular style of music. Your interests seem varied enough that you probably should seek a well-rounded teacher. Jazz and classical instruction are different enough that you might want to think about your ultimate direction, but it's not a pressing thing.

Originally Posted By: Mr. Cid

Also, would only one lesson per week would suffice, because I would like to do more than one lesson per week.


One lesson per week suffices, but you certainly can up the frequency if you have the budget. Thing is, your brain actually rewires while you sleep, so having some time before you checkpoint with your teacher isn't necessarily a bad thing--as long as you remember to also practice on any day that you also breathe.

Originally Posted By: Mr. Cid

P.S. I see that you are a ragtime player. I would like to play ragtime but I find a lot of the sheets a bit hard for my level, especially with the jumps and whatnot.


Classic ragtime is pretty demanding stuff, no way around it.

On this, or another forum, though, I saw reference to a series, "Martha Miers' Jazz, Rags, and Blues" which has introductory pieces in early jazz styles. So, in looking these up, I find these arrangements to be pretty darn charming, arranged in graded difficulty. I found the following on YouTube:

Book 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eiqCwSbs6Ew

Book 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J9e6FUC7tqI

Book 4: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s97HRQ0-JuI

Martha Miers looks to be an Alfred Music imprint. (I'm not affiliated with or advertising for Alfred.) These pieces, to my ear, seem like a nice introduction to some of the skills that you'd need to develop to play early jazz (and I'm assuming that there are some rags in those books as well).

If, instead, you wanted to take the plunge into true classic rags, then I think rags like Joplin's "Peacherine Rag," "The Strenuous Life," and "Swipesy" are reasonable places to start, but even these are pretty challenging.

EDIT: Oh, there are also simplified versions of popular Joplin rags. Those can be great places to start.


Edited by Whizbang (02/04/13 12:16 AM)
_________________________
Whizbang
amateur ragtime pianist

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#2026608 - 02/04/13 12:04 AM Re: What and How Should I Look For an Instructor? [Re: Mr. Cid]
Bobpickle Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014


Registered: 05/24/12
Posts: 1383
Loc: Cameron Park, California
Originally Posted By: Mr. Cid
Originally Posted By: Bobpickle
I'd second Sand Tiger's suggestion to read the 3 successive articles on that website having just read them myself.

This is a good starting place: http://www.mtnacertification.org/

I'll simply add that you should look for and lean towards someone with credentials.


This is actually a great website from what I hear. Also, what you tell me are what some of my friends tell me. That I should look for someone with credentials. But, I hear stories of phenomenal pianist that are very good at teaching. Should I give a glance in that direction as well?


Great pianists are one thing, but for great pianists to also be great teachers, 9 times out of 10, they will have credentials of some sort (piano-related, teaching-specific degrees are the best to look for - i.e. "piano pedagogy").

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#2030200 - 02/10/13 01:11 AM Re: What and How Should I Look For an Instructor? [Re: Mr. Cid]
MidnightSwooner Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/07/13
Posts: 13
Just posting so I can find this thread again later...good info here.

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#2030222 - 02/10/13 02:15 AM Re: What and How Should I Look For an Instructor? [Re: Mr. Cid]
4evrBeginR Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/27/09
Posts: 1607
Loc: California
If you need the teacher to travel to you, you should cover the teacher's travel time. So if you have a half hour lesson and your teacher takes 15 minutes to travel to your place, you should pay for an 1-hour lesson. I have done this before for my son for a short time because of complicated set of circumstances. As this was quite expensive, we did work things out and travel to the teacher as soon as circumstance allowed.

As for style of music, you should find a teacher who teaches what you want to learn. I see some teachers advertise they can teach anything a student may want to learn. That only work for a complete beginner. Most classically trained teacher could teach some jazz, but they cannot really teach it at an intermediate level. If you are into jazz, you should find a jazz player.

It's not a good idea to have more than one teacher at a time. You can go from one to the next but not a good idea to have more than one at the same time because every teacher have slightly different ideas on technique, interpretation, and other details. You'll end up frustrating yourself and your teachers if you have more than one.

When I started lessons, I had them once a month, then twice a month, finally once a week. I really don't need them once a week. When I saw my teacher once a month we had a consultant client relationship. When I had lessons every week, it became more a teacher student relationship. The different is subtle but important.
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Art is never finished, only abandoned. - da Vinci

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#2030636 - 02/10/13 04:32 PM Re: What and How Should I Look For an Instructor? [Re: 4evrBeginR]
MaryBee Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/09
Posts: 1212
Loc: Cleveland, OH
Originally Posted By: 4evrBeginR
When I saw my teacher once a month we had a consultant client relationship. When I had lessons every week, it became more a teacher student relationship. The different is subtle but important.
I'm curious what you find the difference to be and how it affected your learning. Which did you prefer?
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Mary Bee
Current mantra: Play outside the box.
XVI-XXXIV

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#2030906 - 02/11/13 02:27 AM Re: What and How Should I Look For an Instructor? [Re: MaryBee]
4evrBeginR Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/27/09
Posts: 1607
Loc: California
What happens is that it allows me to work on one or two technical improvements each week instead of telling me all the technical requirements of a piece ahead of time, which I could not manage, remember, or deliver on.

Weekly lessons also force me to practice more frequently. I hate showing up for lessons without showing some sort of progress.
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Art is never finished, only abandoned. - da Vinci

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#2030940 - 02/11/13 05:11 AM Re: What and How Should I Look For an Instructor? [Re: Mr. Cid]
Larry C Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/27/12
Posts: 17
Loc: Naples, FL
Several points of input

[1] Find a teacher who is focused on the style of music you want to play. I started out w/ an excellent teacher/piano player but he was totally focused on classical music and I wanted to play fake sheet jazz and pop, not a good fit

[2] Find a teacher who understands that adults learn different than children and you should know how you best learn (theory based, visual based, sound based, etc) ... this is very important as 'your mother doesn't make you practice' ... you need someone who works with how you learn .. also if you need to be pushed, get a pushy instructor, if not then don't

[3] Find someone you can like, you're going to spend a lot of time w/ them and it should be the highlight of your week

[4] Personally, I also wanted someone who'd do Skype-based lessons so if I was away we could keep lessons going ... I didn't want to swap in another instructor as I traveled .. minor point but it helped me

Travel time, degrees, etc aren't as important in my opinion, at least for the first few years of lessons, you're just a beginner

After two instructors and 4 years of lessons, I am very happy w/ my instructor

I think it takes a few lessons to really know
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Steinway K-52 upright
Mason & Hamlin 50 upright
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