Where To Look
Having been a piano teacher for over 20 years, I’ve looked at this search from the opposite direction of marketing my studio to attract able students. So when someone asks me how to find a good piano teacher, I know the places to look. More importantly, I know how a good piano teacher is found.
Search Based On Your Goal
Of course, there are things to consider when narrowing the search, such as your goals and the characteristics of a teacher that put you at ease or motivate you best. I’ll cut to the chaste and eliminate those looking for a grandiose career as a concert pianist (in that case, try universities with a good music department). For those who have children looking to start music lessons for the first time, or to continue lessons started, or for adults wanting to finally learn the instrument, I think the best way is the old fashioned way; word of mouth.
There are other resources, such as a local music store, or the online Music Teachers National Association’s searchable database of teachers by state who have earned the association’s National Certified Teachers of Music credential (NCTM). Or, you may contact a local community college or university for a list of local teachers. And you may well find a good teacher through one of those routes.
But one of the best ways to find a piano teacher is by finding someone who plays piano well. Ask for their teacher’s contact info. If you don’t know anyone who plays piano, watch local newspapers for local piano recitals or concerts and attend. That is a great way to find a quality piano teacher. Someone who cares enough about students to host performance opportunities is a teacher who works toward results. Check with retirement center activity directors for a list of teachers who’ve brought student piano recitals to the facility.
Another good resource is finding a local MusikGarten music teacher. The MusikGarten teaching method is holistic, kinesthetic, and frankly, fun for children ages 5 – 9. Teachers who are certified in this method tend to be excellent instructors, and teach a well-rounded approach than traditional piano instruction. Similar to Suzuki method, MusikGarten’s approach is to begin learning music aurally. However, MusikGarten also incorporates movement, drumming, singing, and notation-reading, eventually combining all these layers of foundation into piano performance.
So, in a nutshell, find a good piano teacher through word of mouth, a local recital, an internet hunt for MusikGarten teachers, a local university or local music store. The latter two suggestions tend to be hit or miss, as anyone can get on a list or get hired at a store (profit-motivated by both store owner and teacher). So, I repeat; ask people you know if they know anyone who plays piano well, then find that person’s teacher! Put the word out in your network, both physically and through social media channels, and you’ll find someone locally.
Next Steps: Having found a teacher, you’ll need to make your own goals for piano study clear. See On Learning Piano