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Franz Liszt - 200th Anniversary

Today, October 22 2011, marks the 200th birthday of Franz Liszt, the greatest piano virtuoso of his time, inventor of the modern piano recital and one of the most influential composers of the 19th century. Piano Street here presents a collection of material and links to resources for you to enjoy in order to commemorate the great Franz Liszt. Read more >>

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Author Topic: How to know if I have a good piano teacher?  (Read 4083 times)
nickadams
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« on: March 29, 2011, 02:36:40 AM »

I found my teacher on craigslist a few weeks ago and I have had 4 lessons so far.



So how can I know if they are a good teacher or not? I want to make sure I am getting the maximum results out of my money and time.
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thinkgreenlovepiano
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« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2011, 02:45:39 AM »

Well... are you enjoying your lessons?  Grin
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"A painter paints pictures on canvas. But musicians paint their pictures on silence."
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nataliethepianist
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« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2011, 03:22:35 AM »

Of course you should be enjoying your lessons! Are you feeling motivated to learn, do you think your piano teacher is fair? What I mean by this is are they allowing you some sort of freedom in your playing? If you are not quite advanced yet or play well enough to choose pieces and have a say in them (which I think should start at an early level, but others don't usually agree), you might not want to or should.

I think one of the hardest things to find in a teacher is if they find a student's strengths, not necessarily their weakness and push that. So many teacher are trying to fix a student's bad habits, and don't focuss on the student's natural ability. So, do you find that your talents and strengths are coming through to this teacher? Are they treating you as an individual and special, other than "just another student I have to teach"?

Good luck with your studies.

- Natalie
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nickadams
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« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2011, 11:05:28 PM »

Yes, my teacher is treating me well, but I am wondering how I can know if they are a good piano teacher to help me improve as quickly as possible.


I have read multiple times people on this forum saying, "I did not make very good progress until I really found a teacher that suited me." But I don't get what these people mean? What was wrong with their old teachers and what does their new teacher do differently that enables them to make better progress?

How can I know if my teacher is helping me make the most of my time practicing if I have nothing to compare it to?
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nataliethepianist
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« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2011, 03:05:43 AM »

Hello again. I am now in the middle of looking for a new teacher. Why? Because my current teacher has no idea how to challenge a student. I mean this because I need to be challenged and I am ready to move on and potentially go to even higher levels, but my current teacher wont do so.

What others may be meaning by this is that maybe their teachers are holding them back, so the student in not motivated to learn, thus the student does not progress well. When they say "suited me", they might mean a teacher that is just the right amount of strict and gives just the right amount of freedom. Some people like their lessons to be more strict as they believe a teacher knows best, and others love the freedom because it gives motivatioin.

It is simple, really. Do you feel like your learning? Do you feel like you want to learn rather that saying "I am practicing because I have to"? You should almost always feel motivated when learning, unless correcting a bad habit.
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lostinidlewonder
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« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2011, 03:26:44 AM »

I think the most important point that think and natalie pointed out is that you enjoy your lessons. It is not good enough just to enjoy it because you are playing the piano and talking about the instrument, but enjoyable because the teacher motivates you to learn more, to practice hard at home, makes you feel confident that you know what/how to practice. You should enjoy it because you can see your progress but acknowledge that you will make slow progress if you completely rely on your teacher and do not work hard on your own.

 It is difficult for a new music student to know what to expect from themselves when they first start out learning their instrument. Thus it is NOT a good idea to think about changing teachers when you have not even started. A teacher is only a small part of your musical journey, you only see them for a very short time every week and the rest of the time you are left on your own with your teachers notes and the music they have set you. You need to learn how to work through music yourself and develop your discipline before you even start making guesses if your teacher is good enough for you.

When you just start out playing piano it really doesn't matter which teacher you have. Each teacher will be able to transfer to you basic musical knowledge even a bad teacher can do that. But you need to learn from lesser teachers to appreciate when you have a better teacher. You simply will not fully appreciate a good teacher if you have never learned from a lesser one. When studying music it is also important to do things "wrong" so that you can fully appreciate when you do it a superior way. A teacher who does not allow the student to do things not completely correct is in my opinion an ineffective teacher who will slow you down.

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thebuchertrain
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« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2011, 04:12:38 AM »

well I would check out their credentials and amount of experience first- If the teacher has some sort of degree in teaching music/has been teaching for many years, they'll probably end up being a good teacher imo. If you're frustrated at the pace you're progressing, i would talk to them about it, and seek advice from other pianists/teachers instead of immediately getting a new teacher. (natalie... Wink).

And, enjoying your lessons is very important as well.

oh yea, also i second everything lostinidlewonder said  Smiley
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brogers70
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« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2011, 05:28:33 AM »

A teacher who says nothing whatsoever is good to the extent that paying for a lesson motivates you to prepare for it.

A teacher who says "oops you missed some notes in that fast passage just before the recapitulation, you need to work on that" isn't telling me something I didn't know already.

A teacher who points out dynamic and phrasing indications in the music that you failed to observe is more helpful, but if you just concentrated harder you wouldn't need a teacher like that, anyway.

A teacher who shows you betters ways to move your arms and hands so that you can play a passage more easily is very helpful and worth the money you pay.

A teacher who looks at the list of pieces you want to learn and says "You might think that one is too hard for you, but it's not as hard as it looks, don't wait, go for it now," or conversely, tells you to hold off on something because it's harder than it looks, is also worth the money.

It probably takes 3 months to tell whether a teacher is helping you or not, especially if you have to decide whether advice on how to develop your technique is good or not.
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Mayla
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« Reply #8 on: March 31, 2011, 01:57:56 AM »

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"The greatest thing in this world is not so much where we are, but in what direction we are moving"  ~Oliver Wendell Holmes
deejeff442
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« Reply #9 on: March 31, 2011, 09:43:09 PM »

although i am just starting out at this point i do as i am asked.i love my teacher she is originally from Russia .her mom and grandmother played and she went to a music middle and high school all her life.2-3 hours a day on piano in Russia and taught by some of the best teachers.she has been playing for 30 years and teaching for 20+ in 3 countries.
she keeps asking me every week if i am ok with learning classical music.which i started to just play music you would hear on the radio.i say at this point i would just like to keep up with her agenda learning classical.i figure since classical is the most difficult i could pick up on the radio tunes anytime.so i don't expect to be playing the complicated pieces of classical and really don't want to but she has pushed me to be alot better in a short time frame i would have never thought i could do.
i think you just need to keep looking for the right fit for what you want to accomplish .
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alars19
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« Reply #10 on: April 02, 2011, 01:42:12 PM »


I do think that most teachers are good as long as you communicate well with them, be very clear about what your goals are and about what you want to work on and if you think you did just that and it didnt work out, then maybe you can look for another teacher.
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