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#963283 - 01/19/08 09:27 PM Looking for piano teacher for young kid
nancybuy1stpiano Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/13/08
Posts: 4
Loc: MA
Dear Piano Teachers,

I have a 6 yrs old, she just start to talk about piano lessons.
We need to find a piano teacher for her. Is there any idea about how we can find a right teacher, and which book we should get for her?
Thanks,

Nancy \:\)

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#963284 - 01/20/08 12:31 AM Re: Looking for piano teacher for young kid
Candywoman Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/14/03
Posts: 834
My suggestion is to contact your registered music teachers' association or look for ads in the community newspaper. I would try to find a teacher who is more expensive. You need top quality instruction in your first few years of piano lessons.

The teacher will decide which books to begin with. Avoid any beginner primer book that has chords in the left hand. It's more important to learn about melody and independence of the left hand. You should be playing music with artistic merit. For this reason, I do not suggest Alfred, Bastien or Piano Adventures.

Good luck!

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#963285 - 01/20/08 12:02 PM Re: Looking for piano teacher for young kid
Gyro Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/05
Posts: 4533
You sound like a complete newcomer to the
world of pianos, who has never played a
note before. First, you'll need some kind
of piano. Instead of those used acoustic
pianos you're looking at, I would suggest
that you get a weighted-key digital piano.
We are living in the age of the digital
piano, despite the continued strong
resistence to digital pianos in the
classical piano establishment. Weighted-key
digital pianos have sound and action modeled
on a top-of-the-line concert grand piano,
and they are close enough to an acoustic
piano for all practical purposes. It
has been pointed out on the digital forum
that top concert pianists like Andre
Watts and Valentina Lisistsa use digital
pianos for practicing. The composer
Henry Mancini also uses digitals.

Digital pianos offer great advantages for
the pianist. They never need tuning
or maintenance, ever. They are durable
and reliable--a digital piano should last
indefinitely without ever needing a repair.
They offer volume control so that you
can play anytime, anywhere, and not disturb
anyone with your playing. They can be
moved by one person. You can get a
good new one for less than $1000--my
digital, a Korg SP-250 lightweight console
cost $900 new online and I use it to
play everything including big Romantic
Era concertos. They offer additional
features like instant record and playback
at the touch of a button and computer
connectivity. In my opinion, digital
pianos are superior for developing technique--
the people who say that you can't develop
the proper technique on a digital have
never really played one and don't know what
they are talking about.

By contrast, if you get an acoustic piano,
you're going to have to hire a moving van just
to get it in and out of your house--at
about $300 per move. Acoustic pianos
also need to be tuned at least twice a
year, and tunings can run $150 or more
each. Acoustics also need frequent
maintenance and repair--sticking keys
are a common problem. And then there is
the noise factor. An acoustic might
sound nice in a store, but try having
someone pounding on it for several hrs.
per day right in your home, and it will
soon start to sound not so nice. Moreover,
an acoustic piano can be heard a block
away, so if you live in an apt., condo,
or townhouse, you'll soon have the
neighbors at your throat.

As for playing the piano, you should always
remember that the number one problem in
playing is always going to be reading
and then hitting the right notes in the
right time at speed, and don't ever let
anyone try to suggest otherwise (there
will be people who will say that the
most important thing is feeling the music,
or developing the legato touch, or pedaling,
or how you play a pianissimo, and so
forth, but, hey, hit the right notes in
the right time). As for teachers, open
the yellow pages in he telephone book
and there will be dozens of them listed.
Anyone will do--if you remember what was
said above.

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#963286 - 01/21/08 12:01 AM Re: Looking for piano teacher for young kid
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11586
Loc: Canada
 Quote:
Anyone will do--if you remember what was
said above.
Sorry - popycock. A bad teacher is worse than no teacher at all.

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#963287 - 01/21/08 02:11 AM Re: Looking for piano teacher for young kid
btb Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 4261
Loc: Pretoria South Africa
Hi Gyro,
You make a very convincing argument (under the present circumstances) of turning to a digital keyboard rather than an acoustic piano.

I’m of the old school ... so there’s no way you could persuade me to distance myself from my Grotrian Steinweg ... however, can you honestly say that, with all the electronic advantages of the digital keyboard ( weighted keys) ... that it provides the same feel as the acoustic piano?

Or is the touch somewhat mushy ... like a computer keyboard ... lacking the dynamics of varied physical strike of the keys ?

Please ... this is no criticism ... you make a great case for the digital.

With keystring I would be wary of advocating ANY teacher for the small fry ... preferring to have parents go to the trouble of finding the best possible teacher ... but then I’m one of the obsolete breed who in addition believe ... that children should first learn how to ride a bike and be able to read their first book (become literate) before embarking on piano lessons.

So many ambitious Mums are simply using their offspring to patch up a shortfall in their own musical education ... without enthusiastic and
quality parental support the critical practice sessions can become another household chore.

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#963288 - 01/21/08 12:20 PM Re: Looking for piano teacher for young kid
bitWrangler Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/07
Posts: 1785
Loc: Central TX
Hi Nancy, both my daughter and son started when they were 6, so I kinda know where you're coming from. Here are some suggestions about choosing a piano teacher.

One thing not often mentioned when looking for a piano teacher is making sure that you have a clear idea in your head as to how much time you and your kid are willing/able to put into practicing. Also have a clear idea of what your overall goals are. These two things are very important because if you're mainly interested in fostering a love of music and can only devote 15 minutes a day, you probably don't want a teacher that is focused on piano competitions and expects 45min/1hour a day minimum. The converse is also true, there are many teachers out there who will progress at a "leisurely" pace while you may be wanting someone who is more aggressive. So get an understanding in your head about what your expectations are, so you can more closely match them with a prospective teacher.

As for finding teachers, there is always trying out your local Music Teachers Association. This will get you a list to get started with. Go to your local piano/music shops and talk to them about teachers they have heard of and then just start calling around and collecting names. Don't be embarrassed to interview prospective teachers, it's a lot easier to do this now than to have to switch teachers later.

I wouldn't focus too much on cost, as paying more doesn't necessarily get you more.

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#963289 - 01/21/08 03:41 PM Re: Looking for piano teacher for young kid
miaeih Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/06/08
Posts: 267
Loc: SF Bay Area, CA
I agree on having an idea of goal. However, I would stress to get your child involved and let them be the driving force behind the goals. Also, make sure you share these goals with the prospective teacher. Do not be afraid to have to switch teachers later. Everyone changes and you should re-evaluate your teacher if the goals changes.

If you plan to start out with a teacher, just let the teacher pick out a book. They may make you buy their own preferred book anyways.

btb: I started very young (4-5y/o) with a teacher who also believed that the student should be able to read. In addition, there was a age requirement. To by-pass that, I learned to read and all my notes before starting and wowed the teacher. It was much later that I learned to ride the bike though.

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#963290 - 01/21/08 04:51 PM Re: Looking for piano teacher for young kid
bitWrangler Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/07
Posts: 1785
Loc: Central TX
 Quote:
Originally posted by miaeih:
I agree on having an idea of goal. However, I would stress to get your child involved and let them be the driving force behind the goals. Also, make sure you share these goals with the prospective teacher. Do not be afraid to have to switch teachers later. Everyone changes and you should re-evaluate your teacher if the goals changes.

If you plan to start out with a teacher, just let the teacher pick out a book. They may make you buy their own preferred book anyways.

btb: I started very young (4-5y/o) with a teacher who also believed that the student should be able to read. In addition, there was a age requirement. To by-pass that, I learned to read and all my notes before starting and wowed the teacher. It was much later that I learned to ride the bike though. [/b]
Sorta agree about having the child also participate in determining the goals. Keep in mind that they are a 6yo though, and lack a certain, um, perspective. So definitely involve them but you as the parent have to them factor in your goals, the childs goals and the teachers goals and come up with what you think is the best plan to achieve all of the above.

And yes, don't be afraid to switch, I was just saying that you may be able to avoid some unnecessary switching if you ask the questions up front.

Oh, and I guess I was assuming that by 6 they would be on their way to reading already.

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