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  • Writer's pictureBurdett Rice

How to find a good piano teacher

Updated: Jun 22, 2021

When we want to learn to play an instrument, it's easy to get overwhelmed. It's easy to feel that we'll never be able to pick up the quick movements and sonic expressions of the musicians we listen to. However, you can rest in the fact that millions of people have learned how to play the piano. Furthermore, there are millions of students right now who will turn around and be the teachers of tomorrow's pupils. But as a parent or an aspiring musician, there's not really an easy way to know how to find a good piano teacher. So, this article was written for you. We're going to talk about the ins and outs of piano instruction. You will know what to consider when searching for the right piano teacher for you.

how to find a good piano teacher

From the article by Roland, learning music is an important part of development.

"As a child is taught to move their fingers on the keyboard, they learn to navigate the white and black note patterns. This develops fine motor skills that are unique to playing the piano. In playing different notes, the student begins to feel the pulse or rhythm of the music. This is experienced in the hands, and in the entire body. As they play melodies and harmonies in rhythm, they learn to express the beauty of the music, to play with feeling. In all of this, the child is working towards a goal, providing a sense of achievement and satisfaction. For these reasons and more, learning to play the piano can enhance your child’s cognitive and emotional development for a lifetime!" (Source:

How to choose a good piano

The very first step in playing the piano is having a great instrument where the student can grow. There are easy-to-follow steps on Choosing the Best Piano for a beginner student. Every piano lesson should have an instrument with 61 keys, "Touch Response" and a Sustain Pedal. These are the minimum for every piano lesson instrument. Typically, these instruments can be found for $200 - $300 with very little problem. In the linked article we articulate the exact instruments we recommend.

What is a good piano teacher?

When considering a teacher, it's good to know what factors determine a good teacher. In this regard, it is helpful to consider what makes an educator valuable in any field. At Southern Music Academy, when we hire our teachers, what we look for is the following:

  • Music Education credentials

  • Effective communication skills

  • Knowledge of musical pedagogy

  • Dependability of service

  • Ability to adapt to the needs of students

These are the qualities great teacher who cares about their students and knows what to do in a variety of situations.

How to find an accredited piano teacher

So, there are no governing boards of accreditation for a music teacher that will guarantee the qualifications of your piano teacher. There are music teacher organizations like National Music Teachers Association (MNTA) or the National Association for Music Educators (NAfME). However, they are organizations where teachers pay to join with no certification process. Therefore, membership in these organizations will not communicate quality.

Having a conversation about the music teacher's specific approach and timeline is the best way to find out if a music teacher is qualified. A qualified music teacher will go into detail about which piano methods will be used. In addition, they will expound on the specific musical concepts that will be covered in what amount of time.

Finding a piano teacher online

Technology has come a very long way and has opened up the possibility of learning from piano teachers a world away. Taking piano lessons online has also made it easy to safely have lessons in a pandemic-proof way. The concern that most families have with online lessons is that students will not be able to connect with the teacher. This is an understandable concern, but not one that is insurmountable.

This can be understood, but a good teacher will find ways to create a great bond with the student even over the internet. Some of the ways that our teachers help build a bond with our students online is:

  • Have a lesson routine

  • Send notes to the family after each lesson

  • Make sure that the student has a clear view of the teacher's hands

  • Let the student have choices in what songs they play

  • Regular performance opportunities

This type of approach helps a student feel like their teacher is right there with them. Students who feel that they are cared for, and have a say in their development, are much more likely to practice on their own. However, this is not a guarantee that things will flow perfectly, but it increases the chances for success of online piano lessons.

Lessons can be a Hybrid format

However, there is the compromise of having a hybrid lesson. If your teacher lives in your area, you could have alternating lessons in person and online. The concern of connection would be very easily resolved if the student is able to build rapport with in-person lessons. When the teacher is there, they can help handle the tough passages of songs with their student. This can be coupled with online lessons being great guides to how to practice a piece. Online lessons can focus on the theory assignments as a way to strengthen a student's understanding.

Guide to how to find a good piano teacher

After you’ve determined your goals, it’s time to begin your search. Most qualified teachers have worked with beginning students and are well-versed in teaching basic techniques and rudimentary music skills such as reading music. (Source:

The key to finding a great match is making sure that the teacher can easily answer your concerns about direction and timing. As music instructors, we never know exactly how long a student will take to feel comfortable on the piano. However, we do have a timetable for the typical student. Usually, our goal is to help a student to be able to pass a college entrance exam on the piano. Some teachers also teach a student to be able to pass the highest levels of internationally recognized exams. One such qualifying exam is the Associated Board of the Royal School of Music (ABRSM). This type of preparation typically takes 5 - 8 years. This amount of time aligns perfectly with students starting lessons anytime during the 2nd - 4th grade.

How can I find out more?

Southern Music Academy is very proud to offer fantastic teachers. We ensure that our teachers follow all the above criteria in our approach. If you'd like to get started, you can join with a Risk-Free first lesson. Just fill out the form on our Get Started page, and we'll schedule your lessons with ease.

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