Despite what Attaboy may hear, I have no doubt there are splendid piano teachers in and around Buffalo, NY. He should find one - and if he wishes, supplement his studies with videos from Mme Vartic.
Well just to give two examples, when I asked one of the best pianists in the area, a personal friend, for a recommendation he stated I'm probably just as well off continuing on my own. Another fine pianist, who has impressive youtube presentations, got his early training from area piano teachers. His comments indicated that he really didn't realize how poor his training had been until he began studying with out of the area teachers.
I also asked for a recommendation from a classical viola/cello player of some renown in the area. I didn't get what I felt was an encouraging response. Of course, I came to this area later in life so I suppose its possible I've missed some valuable resources. I've never heard mention of a stand out piano teacher in this area. In contrast, in my much smaller home town of Scranton Pa. there was one teacher that was considered the best and in my youth this was well known to aspiring pianists. I think its possible that with both Eastman in Rochester and the fine music department at Fredonia, both an hours drive away, teachers in Buffalo area have been overlooked.
Making a recommendation that "I should find one" is fine, and I appreciate your suggestion. But how does one go about that in a quality way that doesn't consume a lot of research time?? One thing I want to dearly avoid is spending a lot of time and money on going thru piano teachers to find the right one.
First of all, you will
have to do research if you want to find a quality teacher. Sometimes people get lucky and on their first attempt they find the right teacher for them. I'm not saying your friend doesn't know what they're talking about, but they are not necessarily in the educational field to know who to refer you to. Clearly, they had not done this research before getting their teachers (or their parents didn't), and they paid the price. Someone training to be a concert pianist will be in the market for a very different teacher than an adult intermediate student. Not to say the two can't overlap, but the kind of teacher they find valuable may not necessarily be the kind of teacher you would find valuable. A couple of suggestions:
- Do a search on this website for how to find a good teacher. This has been covered exhaustively in other threads and there will be many good points that perhaps you did not first consider.
- When you have read the advice given, be patient in your search for the right teacher for you. Interview, try out an introductory lesson (many teachers will do a free interview/first lesson), and then make your decision from there.
- Bear in mind that bad habits are inevitable. We all get them, even the best pianists, and yes, even teachers. You have developed them in your self-teaching, and you will need some remedial work to undo them. The problem is, it's hard to notice them until they've become so ingrained in your playing they begin to affect your ability to play. A teacher who can see this and tell you this is going to be much better than one who doesn't notice you have bad habits at all.
- With an hour or two per day of practice, you can accomplish quite a bit. I found this resource:
According to one of Chopin’s student Madame Dubois, it seems that Chopin agreed with Hummel. For Delfina, another of his students, Chopin wrote: “Once again I repeat – don’t play more than two hours a day; that is quite enough during the summer.”32For von Timm Chopin recommended “not practicing too long, but to reading, looking at beautiful art works, or taking walks as periods of rest from practice.”33 Chopin did not believe that six or eight hour practice periods “signified diligence. He considered it mechanical, unintelligent and useless labor. He insisted upon complete concentration, alertness, and attentiveness as the utmost requirements for good practicing.”34
Taken from http://www.forte-piano-pianissimo.com/ChopintheTeacher.html