Tuesday, December 20, 2011

0 Should I Just Hire the Cheapest Instructor for My Child’s Piano Lessons?

So, you’ve decided to get private piano lessons for your little angel. Piano lessonprovides instant direction and feedback to keep students progressing towards an amazing goal – musical talent! And someone well-trained in piano is so important in putting your kids on the path to success, but I didn’t always think that way….

My Startling Realization: I Was Causing My Kids to Fail

When I started my piano teacher search, I was hoping it would be as simple as calling the cheapest person on the list and setting a date for our first piano lessons for beginners. Sadly, I learned that this was not the case.

Like many parents, I have seen my kids go through activity after activity and quit after a few weeks. Soccer, ballet, swimming, guitar, ice-skating, rollerblading, hockey, basketball (yes, the rusty hoop is still in my driveway). Altogether, I must have spent over $2,000. And you know what I discovered? My kids were quitters. Not only that, but they had lost CONFIDENCE in themselves. And it was actually me and my husband’s fault. We had not set them up for success in any activity. What we should have done was simple, and much less expensive:

1) FIND the RIGHT instructor the first time instead of “cheaping out”

2) FORCE (but in a good way) the kiddies to actually PRACTICE each day to see progress and feel successful

Once we woke up, we realized that quality trumped low cost when it came to building a foundation of confidence for our kids in their chosen activity. We also realized that we did not know anything about how to hire a great piano teacher. So, in our case, we went with a company that screens piano teachers and stands behind their quality. The cost was not the cheapest, but also not the most expensive and we ended up with an amazing instructor. This time, our kids are going to stick with it and succeed (whether they like it now or not). Piano lessons for kids were one of the most amazing decisions I made. We know they will thank us later.

Friday, December 16, 2011

0 3 Essential Tips on How to Hire a Great Teacher for Private Piano Lessons

Getting a great piano teacher can be a daunting task. There are many to choose from. If you are a little unsure about the process, it is best to go with a company that does all the work for you. You may pay a little more, but you’ll always have someone standing by the quality of the instructor, and when the instructor moves away or stops teaching, you’ll always know a replacement will be just a week or two away. But if you are one of the brave ones, here are three essential tips to hiring a piano teacher for privatebeginner piano lessons:
Remember, the First Instructor is the Most Important for the first piano lesson.
Your overall goal should be to find a music teacher who fits your needs and fits them well.

Hire a great instructor to get the RIGHT FOUNDATION. A bad or mediocre instructor, even if the child is young, is the fastest way to perpetuate the “I don’t want to anymore” comments we so often hear from the kids.

Here are 3 essential tips on finding the right instructor fit:

Tip 1: Personality – Sparkling, but Not Necessarily Effervescent
Talk with each candidate and ask them about their teaching experience. Also, ask what methods they use to help their students understand a difficult concept. How do they work with young children? Take the time to assess how comfortable you feel with this individual. Do you get the sense the instructor will hold your child’s attention during weekly piano lessons? Would they encourage them to master their craft? And be sure to keep in mind, the most social and personable might not be the one that can stand the test of time or provide enough discipline to get the job done. Remember, it’s not the person you’d want to emcee your wedding, but the person who has the patience and rigor to help your child through a tough subject.

Tip 2: Get References! (And a Background Check)
Once you have narrowed your search to two or three candidates, call references. Ask about their experience with the instructor. Get an idea of consistency. Make sure the teacher is not always canceling or unavailable. Musicians tend to ‘gig’ – be sure to hire a music teacher, not necessarily and aspiring contestant on American Idol.

Tip 3: Price – You Often Get What You Pay For
After you have called several piano teachers, you will begin to see a trend in the average price. Remember, five lessons with the cheap instructor for $30 an hour will likely end with a $150 bill and a child that quits because they aren’t making good progress. But, two lessons with a great instructor for $50 will likely build your kids’ confidence, and keep them invested in mastering their piano lessons.

Finally, play your part! Great instructors stay with great students. If you are consistent with your piano lessons, and don’t cancel lessons they had set aside for you, you will likely enjoy a long and productive relationship with your wonderful new teacher. Finding the right piano for kids is important when they reaches the advance level, so finding the right piano teacher is important to continue create a good foundation.