Five Signs You Have the Wrong Piano Teacher

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Hi, this is Robert Estrin at Today’s subject is, “Five Signs You Have the Wrong Piano Teacher.” Choosing the right piano teacher for yourself or your children can be difficult. Today I will tell you five things to avoid when choosing a teacher.

1. They teach on a spinet piano.

Spinets, those very small upright pianos, don’t have the greatest sound because the strings are so short and the soundboards are small. But there’s more to it than that. Spinet pianos have an easier action than other pianos. Therefore, somebody who practices on a spinet is not really prepared to play a grand piano because a grand piano is so much harder to play. One of the nice things about going to a lesson with a teacher who has a nice grand piano, is that even if at home you only have an upright or even a spinet or digital piano, at least once a week, you see what it’s like to play a more formidable instrument. This prepares you for contests and concerts. That’s one tip. It’s not a deal breaker, but a clue that maybe they aren’t a high level teacher.

2. They babysit their kids during lessons.

You might think that would never happen but it absolutely does! Maybe the kids are in the next room watching TV or maybe they’re fighting with each other and the teacher is really not 100% focused on the lesson. Or worse yet, they babysit neighbors’ kids during lessons! This sounds like a joke, but you would not believe the kind of things that go on.

3. They call themselves piano teachers without any significant piano training.

This isn’t to say that there aren’t some great dedicated piano teachers out there. We appreciate them so much! But there are some who just put ads out and start taking students. Maybe they don’t really have the background or the inclination to really care enough. They’re trying to make money teaching piano without considering the best interests of their students.

4. They hit your hands with a ruler when you miss notes!

This one is a deal breaker. It’s hard to believe that this happens at all, but I have heard of this from many people. I believe it’s sick to inflict pain on students, especially children. You want a teacher to be nurturing and supportive in order to connect with you on a personal level and get you to practice and understand what it’s all about. Certainly inflicting pain is the furthest thing from anything that would be helpful, in my opinion. If any of you have had that kind of experience, I’d love for you to share it in the comments below.

5. They don’t teach you how to practice.

This last one is the most important thing. If a teacher doesn’t show you how to practice, even if they’re spectacular pianists, your progress is going to be hindered tremendously. You only go to a lesson once a week. But imagine a teacher who shows you what to do the other six days of the week. You are going to improve exponentially with a teacher who shows you step-by-step exactly what you should be doing at home. This is the most critical thing and maybe not the most obvious thing to look for in a teacher. If any of you have teachers and you get home and you have no idea where to even start, the teacher really isn’t giving you the tools you need. You want a teacher who will show you step-by-step how to practice. This way you can be productive without them, so eventually you won’t even need a teacher! You can practice on your own and accomplish great things.

I hope this has been helpful for you. I welcome your viewpoints in the comments below!
Thanks so much for joining me. I’m Robert Estrin here at, Your Online Piano Store. See you next time!