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Which piano teacher seems best to try first?

(11 Posts)
fraggleroc Tue 16-Jun-15 01:28:18

Both DDs want to take up piano. They can already read and play as I was a Grade 7 piano student back then so taught them some of the basics (though I realised very quickly I am not capable of teaching them piano well). One DD (8) is already doing lessons in violin (G2) and the other doing drums. Both DDs quite reserved and shy types but get bored easily - they've changed teachers before and now have ones they prefer. They have no preference as to male or female. One has a male teacher, the other a female. I know credentials aren't everything. Personalities must match too.

I now have whittled it down to 3 choices locally as I would prefer if the piano teacher was within walking distance of our home or is happy to come to our house to teach. Not many of those around!

One is male, middle aged, church organist and current school teacher in several schools state and private. He is a very accomplished organist in churches it appears, and conducts church choirs. Letters behind his name are MA FRCO, BA Hons and MA in Music from Cambridge. PGCE. Cert of advanced studies in Music and Drama. He makes it clear practice daily is important on website. Well I think that too to a certain degree. DD's violin teacher however - a very talented and accomplished violinist with lots of accredition and awards etc. Doesn't think so at her age. I must admit I hardly practiced daily myself and barely scraped Grade 7 practical so I guess perhaps it is not that important especially as DD is only 8. I don't know if this means this one might be a bit strict!

Number 2 is a middle aged lady. BMus Hons,
PGCE, DipABRSM. She is also advertising as a piano accompanist and very experienced at performing for school concerts, productions, church choirs and the like.

Number 3 is a very well-known and respected local entertainer and accompanist. Also music director of some local theatre stage productions and plays publicly for bands and on radio etc. I've found youtube vid of him playing. Very comfortable playing pop and jazz type sound. No fancy letters behind his name but he doesn't need it I guess. Also middle aged.

I am thinking number 3 seems most interesting as a person? Because of his background? But wondering what would others suggest? Incidentally I never know really what could tickle my DD's interests. The one who plays violin actually LOVES playing scales and arpeggios - I hated them myself so I don't really get why she likes them.. and she likes the classical exam pieces. She doesn't really like the Fiddle Time stuff her teacher told her to try. She likes Japanese anime music. Other DD prefers pop in general.

BrockAuLit Tue 16-Jun-15 01:43:57

I would say #2.

First one too high brow sounding for your DDs I think. They have other demands on their time and won't necessarily become dedicated pianists, which is what this teacher seems best suited to training.

#3 sounds a little too much like piano-for-fun. No harm in that, but for the DD who enjoys scales and arpeggios, maybe give her w chance with stricter training?

#2 sounds like she would be capable of classical and modern methods, and would also accommodate and be able to incorporate the violin/drums best.

Mistigri Tue 16-Jun-15 07:07:03

Why don't you phone them and talk to them briefly about their methods/ expectations? The best teacher is the one whose approach is the best fit for your child.

Does it have to be the same teacher for both?

We have gone the "unconventional teacher" route for DD's piano lessons - young composer, no teaching qualification (has a BMus), bit scatty. Was going to try to get DD into the conservatoire for piano next year but not bothering now as this teacher has produced frankly extraordinary results.

RedKite5004 Tue 16-Jun-15 10:01:04

I'd definitely echo Mistigri's thoughts. Give them all a ring and possibly consider that the one teacher may not suit both of your girls. When I was looking for a cello teacher for my son I whittled it down to 3.
No. 1 older lady, very, very experienced, classically trained by one of the best cellists in the world and was close to home. No. 2 middle aged lady, lots of experience of playing in top class orchestras, taught in many prep schools across the County. No. 3, young lad just out of uni (music degree but no teaching qualification), plays in local bands/orchestras, came across as fun, energetic and from listening to him play via You Tube cleared extraordinarily talented at both classical and modern repertoire.
My DS is quirky, frankly a bit nutty and if he's interested in something will give it his all but if he isn't enthused then you can forget it!
We plumped for No.3 and as a result my DS lives for his lessons and can't wait to see his teacher every week.

fraggleroc Tue 16-Jun-15 12:32:45

Sounds like both of you went for younger teachers with little qualifications and had good results. Yeah I get that. I saw a couple of teachers like this advertise locally and they did seems interesting and I would have tried them but it just seems like too much to travel 6 to 8 miles to go to them. Kids already go to quite a few extra curricular activities during the week for things they love like ice skating, gym, athletics, plus their current violin and drum lessons. We are out of the house ao much. I am just a bit tired of going out yet again for more lessons. Plus their primary interests lie in the things they already do. Piano is just something they would like but could probably go without as well. They tinker on our piano a lot and try to play their own songs. I just thought it would be good to have a teacher to teach them how to play better. I think out of the 3 I listed, the third one seems most fun. I don't know about technique. I was don't think taught my own piano teachers were really great at teaching technique. I had to figure out a lot myself. I guess I will have to just try them all out and see. I know a lot about teachers who push for exams even though they say they don't at the beginning. Will just have to see what happens then..

fraggleroc Tue 16-Jun-15 12:35:05

Meant to say above "I don't think my own piano teachers were really great at teaching technique." But sentence came out garbled.

LooseAtTheSeams Tue 16-Jun-15 12:59:44

Definitely talk to them - because one thing that's important is that they ask about your child, what music they like, etc. I knew within 2 minutes of talking to DS1's drum teacher on the phone that they would get on really well, because he wanted to talk about DS and his music not all about himself! We gave up on one teacher after a trial lesson because he was just too full on (and full of himself) and frightened the life out of DS1!
I like the sound of #2 because of the teaching qualification and the experience with school concerts as it suggests they are interested in children and how they learn - really important for progressing after it all starts to get a bit more difficult! However, I admit #3 sounds fun! You won't know until you talk to them, though.

1805 Tue 16-Jun-15 16:20:13

Yes, talk to each. I'm sure you'll get a feeling as to which one to go for. But please don't try to assume peoples personalities before you've met them.

Worriedandlost Tue 16-Jun-15 17:17:01

Based on description only, I would also go for no.2. But after changing a number of piano teachers I also agree that the best way is to have a trial lesson with each one and see what you/your dc think. It is like choosing a school. It may seem perfect on a paper but you go there and suddenly feel that it would not suit your dc. My dd once auditioned with the most advertised, prominent in terms of personal and students results teacher and this teacher turned out to be the worse teacher ever, she said some very nasty things about my dd. But youtube videos, biography on her web site, etc - everything was looked perfect.

JulieMichelleRobinson Wed 17-Jun-15 07:22:15

The one whose free slot matches the day that doesn't clash with other things your children do! :D

fraggleroc Wed 17-Jun-15 20:26:40

Thanks all smile Trial lesson with the lady coming up next week. We shall see.

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