Finding The Right Instrumental Teacher

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Classical Piano By: Please log in to see tutor details
Subject: Piano » Classical Piano
Last updated: 30/04/2011
Tags: piano, teaching

When learning to play any musical instrument one of the most important questions should be 'Who is the right teacher for me?'

There is so much more to it than simply picking the first name that appears on a website or advert and assume this is the only option. A common misconception when learning music is that the most qualified teachers make the best ones: during my years learning piano I discovered this is not always the case.

An important question that you need to ask yourself is this: Does the teacher's qualifications and experience relate to the particular styles and types of music that you are looking for?

At the age of 7 after just over 12 months of piano lessons with my first teacher I nearly gave up. At that age I found the lessons to be uninteresting, uninspiring and frankly boring: I was pretty sure that piano playing wasn't for me. Luckily, however, after much persuasion my mum convinced me to give it one more go with a brand new teacher, and if I didn't like it then I was 'free to quit'. The rest, as they say, is history because due to this person I now earn my living as a full time musician. The lessons were everything the previous teacher's were not: interesting, inspiring and most importantly related to my own musical interests as a 7 year old. What was the difference between the two teachers? One had many letters after her name from a university. And whilst the other teacher was suitably qualified, he did not have all the extra qualifications that the other one did. The main point being that the most qualified teachers are not always the best - depending, of course, on what you want to gain.

For example, if you have your mind set on learning pure classical music (grades 1 through to 8 then Diploma) the right teacher would possibly be one who had many years playing and teaching this type of music, alongside an education at university or music college. But if, for example, you were looking for say a jazz piano teacher, whilst the previous experience of teaching would still be important, what might be most important is, say, their experience as a player. For example, for how many years have they played live on a jazz circuit with bands and singers? What recordings have they played on? Do they write their own music? Can they improvise and play by ear?

All the areas above can be equally (if not more) inspiring than qualifications and letters after your name. As a 7 year old I needed someone to show me the joy of a musical instrument and relate it to music I enjoyed listening to. Had it not been for that second teacher, my life would not have involved music.

Music in its purest form is an art form - not a textbook subject.







Martin Rowberry Classical Piano Teacher (Birmingham)

About The Author


Please also visit my website at for a complete look at the way I teach, lessons should be about having fun and playing music that you can relate to!

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