Qualities of a piano teacher for a child

If you are considering to teach your child to play piano, I have the following suggestions regarding choosing a piano teacher:

There is no description of an ideal teacher. But, subjectively I will describe, what are my thoughts on the subject, which were confirmed by conversations with numerous parents. I sincerely recommend a teacher, who uses positive, not negative feedback, who is looking for good sides, not the one who is criticizing. A praising teacher, not a scolding one.

Playing in public is stressful for a child by itself. While playing, a child has to listen to melody, have the right tempo, often to memorize the piece and play it from a memory. If, additionally, instead of a smiling and supportive teacher he will receive negative emotions, then he will get scared and will tell his parents the he does not want to play. I write about emotions a lot, since in learning to play it is crucial. A child will not play well, creatively, if he will play out of fear of criticism.  To play well, you have to have self-confidence, in case of children it is very important and very difficult to achieve. I write these words both as a person, who has musical education, and as a mother, who is considering development of an own child.

This attitude of acceptance can be transferred to every aspect of a child’s education, but while stress may not inhibit performance on a mathematics exam, too much fear during a piano lesson or a piano exam prevents good performance of a music piece.

Playing a music instrument is not only about reading the notes well. It is the basis, but it is not sufficient. To perform a music piece well, one should like the piece, to know and to think through each note. One should create out of music notes a “story”, and to be able to tell the created story in public, mastering the music piece. In absence of a supportive teacher, the student is just “playing” the piece, does not control or master it, not listens, accelerates the tempo, as he wants to finish as soon as possible. Good emotions and support of a teacher are necessary, when both a student and a teacher during the class create together this “story” by interpreting the piece, and then during a public performance a student will have courage to show in public his interpretation.

Regardless whether the child will be thought during private lessons at home, or at a music school, before selecting classes I recommend to get to know the teacher or to enroll the child to classes already recommended by other parents.

Margaret Jurewicz