Editor’s Note: Today, I’m very happy to introduce the newest member of our CatholicMom.com family of contributors: Erin Giddens. Erin is a homeschooling mom of four who lives in the rural Midwest. Erin, we look forward to learning with you and getting to know your family! LMH
Choosing the Perfect Piano Teacher
When my husband and I first considered having our children take piano lessons, I immediately began research into several methods of learning piano. What I soon discovered, though, is that no matter which curriculum or method you finally choose, it’s the teacher that matters. Being a homeschool family, we have some leniency for our lesson times. This was important to me, but I also wanted to know the curriculum.
Many of your friends with children will have recommendations for a piano teacher or a local music studio. Start there. Contact those recommendations and ask for a free introductory lesson or consult to see how everyone gets along. It’s a long-term financial commitment and if there isn’t some level of joy and appreciation between all parties, the relationship may quickly fizzle.
What to Consider
As you are looking for a local piano teacher or studio, there are several factors that can help you narrow your decision.
How local is the teacher? Driving to and from each week will add additional time away from home. If that is something you are not willing to give up, begin looking for a local teacher who will come to you. We were fortunate enough to find a piano teacher who drives to us for only several extra dollars per lesson.
Curriculum or Method
What is most important to you regarding the way your children learn piano? Do you prefer listening skills? The Suzuki Method is great for this. Do you want your children to learn to read music first? Most of the curriculums teach this way. If your children show an interest in any other instrument, learning to read music quickly will allow a nice transition. Our teacher uses Music for Little Mozarts, a story book lesson that teaches using a combination of listening, hands-on activities and reading music.
There seems to be an average fee per lesson depending on where you live. One big way to save may take just a little effort on your part. Look for local homeschooling families who may have older children taking lessons on a regular basis. Teenaged homeschoolers may be mature enough to teach your young children. They likely have young siblings themselves and therefore they know how to be around and work with younger children. Also, these teenagers may charge considerably less if they are not yet professional pianists.
It’s okay to change your mind. If you begin with one piano teacher and realize your goals for your children aren’t being met, the schedule is conflicting, or you don’t like the curriculum, realize that you do have options. If you must sign a contract, try to sign a short-term one while you evaluate everything. I wasn’t satisfied with the slow moving pace when we began and so I added an additional lesson each week. By doing this, the children practice more often & feel a sense of accomplishment within the week’s time. In addition, the financial burden doesn’t exist because our teacher comes to our home and is a teenage student of piano herself. A win-win situation!
Copyright 2012 Erin Giddens