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#2294767 - 06/25/14 10:59 AM Questions about finding a piano teacher for our 5yr daughter
Ayumi.V Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/20/14
Posts: 4
Maybe I am stressing too much about this! I think our daughter is ready for beginner lessons. She has been reading since she was 3 and has asked to start piano lessons. She is sensitive to music and I don't want her to lose ear training starting later.

We are in Chapel Hill, NC. We have met with some teachers from the local association MTNA certified teachers around us and have found one we really like. They are pricey around $70/hour. Then there are student teachers organized through UNC at a lot less than that obviously with a lot less experience. We are looking at 30min lessons.

Are there pros and cons to going either route? Would it hurt to start with less experienced in the beginning like bad habits that need to be broken etc?

Thank you in advance for any suggestions/advice!


Edited by Ayumi.V (06/25/14 10:59 AM)

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#2294774 - 06/25/14 11:06 AM Re: Questions about finding a piano teacher for our 5yr daughter [Re: Ayumi.V]
Miguel Rey Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/03/13
Posts: 284
As a parent and pianist in soon to be in your position I would choose the experienced with young children.
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#2294775 - 06/25/14 11:07 AM Re: Questions about finding a piano teacher for our 5yr daughter [Re: Ayumi.V]
Peter K. Mose Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/06/12
Posts: 1316
Loc: Toronto, Ontario
The pro is that the $70/hr teacher is someone you like, and she is highly experienced. The con is that it seems expensive. But that's only $35 per lesson.

A student teacher would be ok, but he or she will only be around for a year and then move on. That's not so good for your daughter in term of continuity.

I'm sure there are fine experienced teachers in Chapel Hill who charge less than $70 per hour.

But any teacher who has an interest and experience in teaching beginners will get your daughter started without bad habits. The more important thing is that your daughter likes her teacher. If you also like the teacher, that's of course also good, but less important, imo.

Don't fret this, just get her started. Unless you are overbearing and micromanaging parents: in that case, others on this board can advise you better than I can.

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#2294781 - 06/25/14 11:16 AM Re: Questions about finding a piano teacher for our 5yr daughter [Re: Ayumi.V]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5421
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: Ayumi.V
Are there pros and cons to going either route? Would it hurt to start with less experienced in the beginning like bad habits that need to be broken etc?

You might want to observe the teacher's studio recital and see how the other kids do. If you notice a lot of students sitting too low, slouching their backs, dropping their wrists way below the keys, and stretching their tiny legs to reach the pedal (gasp in horror!), then you have a clear sign the teacher has no idea what he/she is doing.

Age and experience are non-issues. Expertise is more important.
_________________________
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#2294804 - 06/25/14 12:16 PM Re: Questions about finding a piano teacher for our 5yr daughter [Re: Ayumi.V]
Ayumi.V Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/20/14
Posts: 4
Thank you for all the thoughts! Chapel Hill seems to be a different breed.. lol.. prices drop if we are willing to drive 20-30 minutes out but that is not very feasible for us with a toddler and juggling schedules. Even at $70-$80/hour there are hardly any availability with teachers. The one we liked had one 30 minute slot that fits in her schedule and that was it.

I had not considered the student teachers leaving and continuity issues! I think we will go with our original plan with the more experienced teacher. I will also be watching for postures etc. Our daughter would be the youngest and only beginner student that she has. She did mention that after meeting her the toughest part for her would probably be to sit still through a studio recital. smile

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#2294938 - 06/25/14 04:57 PM Re: Questions about finding a piano teacher for our 5yr daughter [Re: Peter K. Mose]
Gary D. Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4750
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: Peter K. Mose

A student teacher would be ok, but he or she will only be around for a year and then move on. That's not so good for your daughter in term of continuity.

Peter, I disagree. I would not want a student teacher going NEAR the students I teach, and there are horrible problems to fix when I get students who have started with inexperienced teachers.

This is not to say that there are not some very gifted young teachers who are very good almost from the start, but I think that is unusual.
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#2295002 - 06/25/14 07:54 PM Re: Questions about finding a piano teacher for our 5yr daughter [Re: Ayumi.V]
Peter K. Mose Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/06/12
Posts: 1316
Loc: Toronto, Ontario
Gary and I sometimes disagree, and that's fun.

But I assume the expression "student teacher" implies someone enrolled in a piano pedagogy program within a university school of music, with his or her student teaching overseen by a mentor professor. I'd say that someone in this stream is already on a rather good track to be a studio teacher.

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#2295143 - 06/26/14 01:29 AM Re: Questions about finding a piano teacher for our 5yr daughter [Re: Gary D.]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5421
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: Gary D.
Peter, I disagree. I would not want a student teacher going NEAR the students I teach, and there are horrible problems to fix when I get students who have started with inexperienced teachers.

If you change "inexperienced" to "incompetent," then I can agree with you. I try not to equate experience with competence.

For example, in college, some of the Teacher's Aides (grad students) are better teachers than the tenured professors. And I've heard a few professors who freely admitted that.

And even for myself: I know at this stage of my career I know much more repertoire and know how to deal with parents and students more effectively. But what I have lost is that sense of idealism and drive. When I was fresh out of college I had so many vibrant ideas and things I wanted to try. Now I'm just lucky to get through the day unscathed.
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#2295149 - 06/26/14 01:53 AM Re: Questions about finding a piano teacher for our 5yr daughter [Re: AZNpiano]
Gary D. Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4750
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: Gary D.
Peter, I disagree. I would not want a student teacher going NEAR the students I teach, and there are horrible problems to fix when I get students who have started with inexperienced teachers.

If you change "inexperienced" to "incompetent," then I can agree with you. I try not to equate experience with competence.

I basically agree with you, although if you measure a talented teacher, just starting out, and then compare that same teacher with himself/herself, a couple decades later, IF the teacher continues to grow there will be no contest.

Think of yourself now in comparison to the "you" who first started teaching.

Is a very good teacher, just starting out, better than many of the teachers we would both consider incompetent?

Absolutely.
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#2295288 - 06/26/14 11:25 AM Re: Questions about finding a piano teacher for our 5yr daughter [Re: Ayumi.V]
Peter K. Mose Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/06/12
Posts: 1316
Loc: Toronto, Ontario
Sounds like Gary, AZN, and I have all kissed and made up....

It would be an interesting discussion thread about a piano teacher's professional growth over a career. Or one's decline. But I think I'll pass on that topic!

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#2295371 - 06/26/14 03:21 PM Re: Questions about finding a piano teacher for our 5yr daughter [Re: Peter K. Mose]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11572
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: Peter K. Mose
It would be an interesting discussion thread about a piano teacher's professional growth over a career.

I'm thinking the concern is about the growth of the child, rather than of the teacher. A rule of thumb I've seen more than once is for a beginning (student) teacher to start with students who have already had a year of instruction with a competent, experienced teacher, so that the groundwork is laid. That's always made sense to me. The beginning is so important. To go from a student teacher to an experienced one just seems backward.

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#2295579 - 06/26/14 11:37 PM Re: Questions about finding a piano teacher for our 5yr daughter [Re: Ayumi.V]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7305
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Originally Posted By: Ayumi.V
Maybe I am stressing too much about this! I think our daughter is ready for beginner lessons. She has been reading since she was 3 and has asked to start piano lessons. She is sensitive to music and I don't want her to lose ear training starting later.

We are in Chapel Hill, NC. We have met with some teachers from the local association MTNA certified teachers around us and have found one we really like. They are pricey around $70/hour. Then there are student teachers organized through UNC at a lot less than that obviously with a lot less experience. We are looking at 30min lessons.

Are there pros and cons to going either route? Would it hurt to start with less experienced in the beginning like bad habits that need to be broken etc?

Thank you in advance for any suggestions/advice!

I have many concerns about this thread, both generally and specifically.

First, I have worked with 3, 4 and 5 yr old students. They require very specialized knowledge and handling; their needs, care and feeding are far, far different that 6 yr old and older students. There are both physical and mental problems which need to be addressed by the teacher.

Secondly, evaluating student readiness needs the input of both parent and teacher. The reasons you have put forth for your child's readiness are fairly typical of many above average students, but don't necessarily imply readiness. An experienced teacher can evaluate this far better than we can over the Internet. If you truly believe your child is ready, then request an evaluation from one or two advanced, highly respected teachers. Your location has them. Also, be prepared to pay for the time. However, a teacher may waive it if they decide to take on your child.

In addition to student readiness, there is the matter of parent readiness. Are you, as the parent, prepared to set aside an hour a day, every day, let me repeat that, every day, to work with your child? If you are not, and this implies no criticism, just reality, then wait for the student to mature, when they can work somewhat more independently. Initially, you won't need an hour a day, but as your child progresses, her time demands will grow and you need to be ready to commit to her practice.

Thirdly, I highly frown on 30 min lessons. If your child is ready, then their attention span (one criteria) should permit 45 - 55 min sessions. If she's really into music, she may well out do you in her capability to focus on lesson material.

Now, some questions for you. Chapel Hill has many musical events. Are you and your child attending them? How is she doing with them - focused, fascinated, or highly distracted or drifting off to sleep?

What kind of practice instrument do you have in your home? And what is the practice environment like? If the teacher asks, will you be ready to upgrade it, for your child's sake?

One other thought - you generally get what you pay for. $70/hr is a bargain if the teacher is good.

Oh, and FWIW, I make a pretty good living helping students unlearn bad habits picked up from bargain teachers and teaching them what they should have been taught from the beginning. It's sad that so many students are so poorly taught at the outset, but that's what happens when false economies are employed.
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#2295588 - 06/27/14 12:02 AM Re: Questions about finding a piano teacher for our 5yr daughter [Re: John v.d.Brook]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11422
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
Originally Posted By: Ayumi.V
Maybe I am stressing too much about this! I think our daughter is ready for beginner lessons. She has been reading since she was 3 and has asked to start piano lessons. She is sensitive to music and I don't want her to lose ear training starting later.

We are in Chapel Hill, NC. We have met with some teachers from the local association MTNA certified teachers around us and have found one we really like. They are pricey around $70/hour. Then there are student teachers organized through UNC at a lot less than that obviously with a lot less experience. We are looking at 30min lessons.

Are there pros and cons to going either route? Would it hurt to start with less experienced in the beginning like bad habits that need to be broken etc?

Thank you in advance for any suggestions/advice!

I have many concerns about this thread, both generally and specifically.

First, I have worked with 3, 4 and 5 yr old students. They require very specialized knowledge and handling; their needs, care and feeding are far, far different that 6 yr old and older students. There are both physical and mental problems which need to be addressed by the teacher.

Secondly, evaluating student readiness needs the input of both parent and teacher. The reasons you have put forth for your child's readiness are fairly typical of many above average students, but don't necessarily imply readiness. An experienced teacher can evaluate this far better than we can over the Internet. If you truly believe your child is ready, then request an evaluation from one or two advanced, highly respected teachers. Your location has them. Also, be prepared to pay for the time. However, a teacher may waive it if they decide to take on your child.

In addition to student readiness, there is the matter of parent readiness. Are you, as the parent, prepared to set aside an hour a day, every day, let me repeat that, every day, to work with your child? If you are not, and this implies no criticism, just reality, then wait for the student to mature, when they can work somewhat more independently. Initially, you won't need an hour a day, but as your child progresses, her time demands will grow and you need to be ready to commit to her practice.

Thirdly, I highly frown on 30 min lessons. If your child is ready, then their attention span (one criteria) should permit 45 - 55 min sessions. If she's really into music, she may well out do you in her capability to focus on lesson material.

Now, some questions for you. Chapel Hill has many musical events. Are you and your child attending them? How is she doing with them - focused, fascinated, or highly distracted or drifting off to sleep?

What kind of practice instrument do you have in your home? And what is the practice environment like? If the teacher asks, will you be ready to upgrade it, for your child's sake?

One other thought - you generally get what you pay for. $70/hr is a bargain if the teacher is good.

Oh, and FWIW, I make a pretty good living helping students unlearn bad habits picked up from bargain teachers and teaching them what they should have been taught from the beginning. It's sad that so many students are so poorly taught at the outset, but that's what happens when false economies are employed.


Excellent post, John. I agree that the child should be ready, but I do see a benefit if they cannot do 45 minute lessons to do 30 to start. Some children can really benefit from piano-oriented music lessons, which is usually what it starts out as. Young students like this don't do a lot of bench time or practice time, but gradually those things increase as the child gets to stages of development when they're capable of it.

It is, however, extremely important to get great teaching right from the start. Think of it like building a house. If you start with sub-standard materials to save a few bucks and then polish it off with fine finishings, it may look nice for a while, but at some point the weak foundation and poor materials will fail, and all of those nice finishings will have to come out or be set aside while repair is done to the foundation. In piano, many students have to rework their technique from the ground up because of poor instruction. This means going back to playing one note at a time, one hand at a time. Best to get it right the first time.
_________________________
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MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#2295589 - 06/27/14 12:18 AM Re: Questions about finding a piano teacher for our 5yr daughter [Re: Morodiene]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7305
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Well, there probably is a benefit, but why not wait 6 months or a year, when they will probably be considerably more ready, able to cope with longer periods of concentration, and progress more quickly. The sad reality is that most well-meaning parents who start their children as 5 yr olds either have students who face burnout, because of frustrations, or progress significantly more slowly that there's no practical advantage gained by beginning early.
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#2295664 - 06/27/14 06:08 AM Re: Questions about finding a piano teacher for our 5yr daughter [Re: John v.d.Brook]
Gary D. Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4750
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook

Thirdly, I highly frown on 30 min lessons. If your child is ready, then their attention span (one criteria) should permit 45 - 55 min sessions. If she's really into music, she may well out do you in her capability to focus on lesson material.

The rest of your post I agree with, but I would add that there are many young children who start out only being able to focus for around 20 minutes, struggling to make it through 30 minutes, who will be able to focus like a laser a year or two later.

When you say that you "frown on 30 minute lessons" you are also "frowning" on what I do.

So I am pushing back a bit here...
Quote:

Oh, and FWIW, I make a pretty good living helping students unlearn bad habits picked up from bargain teachers and teaching them what they should have been taught from the beginning. It's sad that so many students are so poorly taught at the outset, but that's what happens when false economies are employed.

Here we are 100% in agreement. The most important day is the first, the most important month also the first, and the most important year yet again is the first.

The fact that most people don't understand this boggles my mind...
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Piano Teacher

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#2295674 - 06/27/14 07:57 AM Re: Questions about finding a piano teacher for our 5yr daughter [Re: Gary D.]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3158
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: Gary D.


The fact that most people don't understand this boggles my mind...


To a parent, piano teaching seems like most regulated professions, where almost all are competent craftsman, but a few are superstars. You don't need the superstar to crown your teeth or shingle your roof except in those unusual cases; any emergency room doctor can stitch you up, though you want a specialist for a heart transplant. And you don't need that superstar piano teacher unless you're destined for that solo career. Any teacher should be competent enough.

Except that they aren't. And there's no easy way for a parent to tell who's not.


Edited by TimR (06/27/14 07:58 AM)
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#2295706 - 06/27/14 09:41 AM Re: Questions about finding a piano teacher for our 5yr daughter [Re: Gary D.]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7305
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Originally Posted By: Gary D.
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
Thirdly, I highly frown on 30 min lessons. If your child is ready, then their attention span (one criteria) should permit 45 - 55 min sessions. If she's really into music, she may well out do you in her capability to focus on lesson material.

The rest of your post I agree with, but I would add that there are many young children who start out only being able to focus for around 20 minutes, struggling to make it through 30 minutes, who will be able to focus like a laser a year or two later.

When you say that you "frown on 30 minute lessons" you are also "frowning" on what I do.

So I am pushing back a bit here...

Gary, no problem. About 15 years ago, I came to the realization that the traditional 30 min lesson was no bargain for student or parent, and for us, economically, it's a wash. We derive a slightly higher income but at a cost of more preparation and student workload. In looking closely at my 30 min lessons, I realized that there was probably about 22/23 min of focused, high concentration learning. In a 45 min lesson, this would be about 37/38 min. For both student and parent, it would be more cost effective to add this extra 15 mins to their lesson each week (the numbers are something like 65% more study time for 50% or less cost).

However, let me rephrase my comment a bit: I steer parents away from the traditional one 30 min per week lesson for pedagological reasons. There is too much to accomplish; my experience is that 60 min a week students progress more quickly with fewer technical problems than 30 min students, and they stick with piano longer. These are the main reasons why I stopped giving them. With one exception and that is for parents who will do two 30 min lessons per week.

We do a lot of things for economic reasons. That's just reality. Not many parents want to make two treks each week to the studio and then there are a boat load of highly talented students who come from families where income limits dictate only 30 min a week. But the thrust of my post is to focus on what's best for the very young student, not the parent or teacher. I have had success with several very young students with the two 30 min lessons per week formula, and in reality, the lessons quickly expanded into 35 min and then 40 min lessons. Overall, this seems a balanced compromise between the ideal daily lesson approach and expense for the parent.
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#2295796 - 06/27/14 01:21 PM Re: Questions about finding a piano teacher for our 5yr daughter [Re: John v.d.Brook]
Ayumi.V Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/20/14
Posts: 4
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook

Now, some questions for you. Chapel Hill has many musical events. Are you and your child attending them? How is she doing with them - focused, fascinated, or highly distracted or drifting off to sleep?

What kind of practice instrument do you have in your home? And what is the practice environment like? If the teacher asks, will you be ready to upgrade it, for your child's sake?

One other thought - you generally get what you pay for. $70/hr is a bargain if the teacher is good.


Thank you for your comments! It helps to see others' opinions in trying to wade through all these decisions. Parenting has definitely been more challenging than I thought.. just trying not to screw up the kids too bad. grin

Yes, we go to performances and concerts routinely. She enjoys them and likes everything from classical to reggae.. she is usually the first one out there dancing and she sang in front of 300 people with Shannon Tanner while we were on vacation at HHI a couple of week ago.. lol! https://flic.kr/p/nYzduA

The PX-150 just arrived at the house. It is sitting in the study so her sister won't bug her when she does have to practice.. the teacher OK'd it but said that if she does stick with it we do expect to get an acoustic or in her terms a real piano down the road.

The 30 minute lesson was suggested by the teacher after meeting with her. She normally does not take kids this young so she will be her only 30 minute class. She expects her to move on to 45 minute classes in a year or so and also suggested not adding her to her monthly performance classes until she is ready. The teacher does want her at her studio recitals because she wants her to be used to playing in front of people etc.

I guess I am not that concerned about the speed she progresses as long as she is enjoying music and learning a skill. It would be nice for her to focus on something because I don't want her to be bored in kindergarten while the teachers try and catch everyone else up on learning letters and shapes.


Edited by Ayumi.V (06/27/14 01:24 PM)

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#2295856 - 06/27/14 04:33 PM Re: Questions about finding a piano teacher for our 5yr daughter [Re: John v.d.Brook]
Gary D. Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4750
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook

Gary, no problem. About 15 years ago, I came to the realization that the traditional 30 min lesson was no bargain for student or parent, and for us, economically, it's a wash. We derive a slightly higher income but at a cost of more preparation and student workload.

I don't like 45 minutes because they tend to leave me with 15 minutes downtime. They are not easy to schedule, and they are very difficult to reschedule or swap. 30 minute lessons are easy. Everything starts on the hour or half-hour.

I think fast and work fast. I can't stand stopping. I have it set up so that the next student gets ready during the last couple of minutes of the previous lesson, and since I do that with EVERY lesson, and I work very intensely, I get no objections - ever.

So while I am finishing a lesson, and I will go up to the SECOND doing it, the next is getting ready. I literally have one student walking away from the piano while the next is walking to it, and I tell the next student to start on the first thing I put on the list for last week, to practice.

There can be no more than seconds gap when I am working with two focused, interesting students. I re-charge during lessons teaching students who obviously do not practice. For those 30 minutes can feel like an eternity. 30 minutes goes by in what seems like seconds with the good ones.
Quote:

By the way, TWO lessons per week seems a much better solution, so I push for this whenever I have students who are serious and who have the money to do it. Even students I like have weak weeks where they do not practice enough, so even with advanced students 60 minutes can seem like forever if work has not been done, or the work was done wrong.


However, let me rephrase my comment a bit: I steer parents away from the traditional one 30 min per week lesson for
[quote]
Not many parents want to make two treks each week to the studio and then there are a boat load of highly talented students who come from families where income limits dictate only 30 min a week.

Let me start with parents who don't want to make a trek twice a week. If they have the money to pay for two lessons but choose not to because it is "inconvenient", the young students are not going to progress as fast. But I would say for every one student in that situation I have ten who really don't have the money for two lessons a week. When I have the opportunity to do this, I stress how good it is, and how much better things go. The usual reaction I get is this: "We love doing this, but we just do not have enough money."

Now, once parents have said they don't have enough money, everything else is out of our hands.

I don't think you and I are fundamentally different in what we want except that for my business and my life style 45 minute lessons don't work well for scheduling reasons.
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#2295868 - 06/27/14 05:05 PM Re: Questions about finding a piano teacher for our 5yr daughter [Re: Ayumi.V]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11572
Loc: Canada
Something that has not been factored in are teaching styles and teaching routines. I have seen lessons - though not often - which I would call "condensed". The student does not necessarily play an entire piece through: key areas are looked at or taught, and when enough is caught, they move on to the next thing. For younger children, it depends on how the parents are primed to help at home, since the majority of the work happens at home. Another teacher may feel he is not thorough unless he goes through the whole piece. Entrance and exit is another thing: a cordial longer greeting and farewell, versus virtually being zipped into the studio and zipped out again.

There is always the danger when discussing teaching, that teachers picture what they're familiar with in their own studios, when in fact there is a huge variety. I can picture 45 minutes and I can picture 30 or even 20 minutes for the same student, simply by factoring differences in teaching style and maybe temperament.

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#2295891 - 06/27/14 06:07 PM Re: Questions about finding a piano teacher for our 5yr daughter [Re: Ayumi.V]
Peter K. Mose Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/06/12
Posts: 1316
Loc: Toronto, Ontario
Wonderful post, keystring! Since studio teaching take place in private, and since teachers share little with one another about teaching styles, we tend to forget about such important differences in temperament.

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#2295899 - 06/27/14 06:32 PM Re: Questions about finding a piano teacher for our 5yr daughter [Re: Gary D.]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7305
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Originally Posted By: Gary D.
I don't think you and I are fundamentally different in what we want except that for my business and my life style 45 minute lessons don't work well for scheduling reasons.

Gary, I suspect that there's a lot of self-selection by students/parents based on teacher's and student's personalities. I'm very much easy going and try to put my students at total ease before we begin getting serious. As I cannot walk into a lesson and be totally focused, on game and at total ease, I try to sense how much my students need it or don't need the adjustment time. Most of my students take a few minutes to do a weekly core dump, which is totally fine by me. Then I feel better in tune with their needs. Other teachers, as Keystring alludes to, may be able to pick up on this much faster, or not at all. Many teaching "experts" tell us this is important, others say "not so much."

What this all boils down to, I suspect, is that as we gain teaching experience, we find the method and parameters which work best for us, we refine it and stick with it. Then, for the most part, students find us based on word of mouth, from friends and colleagues, so the system works. Perhaps the term, organized chaos, is most appropriate for our profession.
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#2296876 - 06/30/14 08:30 AM Re: Questions about finding a piano teacher for our 5yr daughter [Re: Ayumi.V]
Rebecca Piano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/02/13
Posts: 51
Loc: Sydney, Australia
Ayumi - I am a 'student teacher' (I'm in the fourth year of my undergraduate degree, and I am majoring in music) - I don't have 20 years of experience under my belt and AZN piano makes a good point - age and experience are not always indicative of competence. Having said that, when I started teaching my piano teacher mentored me through this whole process and if I ever had any questions (on technical or musical matters) I always had an expert at my disposal.

I think your best bet is to ask the teacher (regardless of age, experience and qualifications the prospective teachers that you interview should always get these kinds of questions) what their special interests are (as musicians and also as teachers), what their experience is with teaching children of younger ages, what their qualifications are and what kinds approaches they use. Look up major methods like the Suzuki, Kodaly, Dalcroze and Orff method and ask the teacher how they have (or haven't) incorporated these approaches into their teaching - then ask them why they do (or don't) believe these approaches are effective.

Also, it might also help to shop around and watch the teacher teach - then to make your decision.
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http://www.pianolessonswithrebecca.com/

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#2297024 - 06/30/14 05:10 PM Re: Questions about finding a piano teacher for our 5yr daughter [Re: John v.d.Brook]
malkin Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/09
Posts: 2417
Loc: *sigh* Salt Lake City
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
...weekly core dump...


That phrase is a keeper!
_________________________
A good student is one who makes the teacher feel like a good teacher.

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#2297040 - 06/30/14 05:54 PM Re: Questions about finding a piano teacher for our 5yr daughter [Re: John v.d.Brook]
Gary D. Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4750
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook

Gary, I suspect that there's a lot of self-selection by students/parents based on teacher's and student's personalities.

Absolutely.

Generally speaking I click best with people have very fast minds, and all my best students have always known that.

My slow students don't know that, but how often do you run out of time with slow students? With my slowest students by the time I hit the 30 minute mark my brain is SCREAMING for break!
Quote:

I'm very much easy going and try to put my students at total ease before we begin getting serious. As I cannot walk into a lesson and be totally focused, on game and at total ease, I try to sense how much my students need it or don't need the adjustment time. Most of my students take a few minutes to do a weekly core dump, which is totally fine by me.

I only get that from adults, John. The younger ones can't wait to show me what they did, if they are interested. Since my teaching is a solid block, if someone like gets here early when someone else is not here, I'll let them pop right in, and I'll go over if the same thing happens. The reason? Because to this very minute I still never get tired of teaching when someone is truly interested and is working hard.

That is even true now and then of slower students who are really serious.

As for "needs", if there is a regular need for me to be other than a piano/music teacher, that's just not what I "signed up" for. Emergencies? Of course. But otherwise I want to go right to work!
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Piano Teacher

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#2297160 - 07/01/14 02:01 AM Re: Questions about finding a piano teacher for our 5yr daughter [Re: Gary D.]
hreichgott Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/13
Posts: 890
Loc: western MA, USA
Originally Posted By: Gary D.
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook

Most of my students take a few minutes to do a weekly core dump, which is totally fine by me.

I only get that from adults, John. The younger ones can't wait to show me what they did, if they are interested.

Me too! It was a big adjustment when I started working with adult students. They want to talk all of the time. At least they are nice to talk to.
_________________________
Heather W. Reichgott, piano http://heatherwreichgott.blogspot.com
Sounding the depths of small pieces: Beethoven Op. 33
Daily attempts at 16th notes: Chopin Op. 10 no. 4, Pischna
Totally loving Fauré/Barcarolles and Ravel/Tombeau de Couperin
I love Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven and new music

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#2297322 - 07/01/14 12:59 PM Re: Questions about finding a piano teacher for our 5yr daughter [Re: Ayumi.V]
BonnieAtEncore Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/18/14
Posts: 3
great input from everyone, but i think the major point being overlooked here is the actual instructor.
Certifications are just he start in the search for the right instructor, as in any field of study there are some who just dont have the connection needed to deal with specific students i suggest going to meet the varios potential teachers and getting a better red on the setep & structure of their lessons.

p.s
if possible it really doesnt hurt to do a session or two and feel the situation out

good luck
_________________________
ENCORE PIANO STUDIOS
Bonnie Yam
For better piano education, visit us online at:
http://www.northyorkpianolessons.com

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#2297361 - 07/01/14 02:38 PM Re: Questions about finding a piano teacher for our 5yr daughter [Re: BonnieAtEncore]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3158
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: Bonnie1980
if possible it really doesnt hurt to do a session or two and feel the situation out



Remember it's a five year old child. They can bond fast. It may be hard on her to start and stop, start and stop.
_________________________
gotta go practice

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