Best Piano Mats

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Piano Floor Mats

Those who have seen the movie “Big” may remember the scene where Tom Hanks plays on a giant floor piano. Here is a link to that scene:

This piano, made by Remo Saraceni for FAO Schwarz Piano, is a one of a kind piano. It is estimated to cost over 250,000 dollars to have a big piano such as this.

Source: http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/movies/macy-unveils-fao-schwarz-piano-made-famous-big-article-1.2677081

With this in mind, you probably will not be able to have the piano that was featured in this iconic movie.

However, you can buy a similar floor mat piano for a much more reasonable price.

Why Buy a Piano Mat

Watch this video as Justin Nielson, owner of Nielson School of Music, discusses about the piano mat that he created and the benefits it gives to his music students.

Playing on a piano mat is fun, and can definitely serve as an incentive to encourage students to play and learn the piano.

It can be played on by children of young age and even adults too! There are even performers who will use piano mats to play live music! Watch this clip to see this in action:

5 Best Piano Floor Mats

Rhode Island Novelty Giant 100″ Electronic Floor Mat Keyboard

This piano mat made by Rhode Island Novelty contains 24 keys and is powered using four double A batteries.

You can choose from 8 different settings that allows for cool and unique sounds as you play on this keyboard mat.

Weighing around 5 pounds, this piano mat can easily be carried. It is also foldable, which allows for easy storage and portability.

Complaints from this keyboard include not being in concert pitch (the middle C sounds like a B flat), and issues with sliding.

Click here for reviews and pricing on Amazon.com

Giant 100″ Piano Play Mat for Kids, 24 Keys Keyboard Playmat -Musical Instruments -Melodies -Record -Playback -Demo-mode with Built-In Amplifier for Portable CD/MP3 Plug In – Play Kreative TM

This foot piano keyboard mat by Play Kreative TM is very similar to the 100″ floor piano by Rhode Island Novelty. The differences includes lighter product weight and price.

There is also a recording feature which allows the user to record music as they play on the floor piano.

Click here for reviews and pricing on Amazon.com

FAO Schwarz Big Piano

This floor piano is made by the same company that made the floor piano in the hit movie “Big” starring Tom Hanks.

This giant foot piano is a smaller model of the big piano from the movie “Big.”

Watch this video for an in depth review of the Big Piano from FAO Schwarz

Click here for Reviews and Pricing on Amazon.com

Zippy Mat Big Giant Piano Mat Music Set

This big piano mat contains 25 playable keys, 10 pre recorded melodies that can be played along with, and volume control.

This keyboard mat is best for younger children, ages 5 months to 8 years.

Children will enjoy playing and walking on this mat, as it will make fun musical sounds that the children can hear and play with.

Click here for reviews and pricing on Amazon.com 

ALEX Toys Gigantic Step & Play Piano

This floor mat piano is made by Alex Toys.

It is much smaller in size in comparison to the other piano mats mentioned in this post. The player will have to play on the piano using the upper part of their foot.

This video by ALEX Toys gives a factual representation of the play piano, and shows the many features of the product

Click here for Reviews and Pricing on Amazon.com


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Best Keyboard Sustain Pedals

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Best Sustain Pedals 2019 Review

With the purchase of a digital piano or keyboard, you will also need to buy a sustain pedal with it. It is important to choose the best keyboard sustain pedal, as an inferior pedal will negatively effect your playing.

A sustain pedal will allow you to hold the notes that you have played, and will continue holding them as long as your foot is pressing down on the sustain pedal. With a sustain pedal, your fingers can lift off of the keys, and the sound can continue to be played.

There are several factors that should be considered with choosing a piano sustain pedal. Here is a list of factors that should be read:

  • Similarity to a real sustain pedal – There are many cheap sustain pedals that actually do not resemble a piano pedal at all! Avoid cheap Pedals at all cost!This is what a cheap sustain pedal looks like:
  • best sustain pedals
  • Rubber under-slide to prevent sliding – The worst thing that can happen during a music performance is to have your sustain pedal fight with you and slide away as you are playing. Make sure to buy a sustain pedal that will stick to any surface while you are using it.
  • Half-pedaling: Having a pedal that is very sensitive to response is also key. Some pieces require the use of half-pedaling, and you definitely want a high quality keyboard sustain pedal that is capable of performing such a feat!
  • Single vs Triple Pedal: Having a triple pedal, with sustain, soft, and sostenuto features, is ideal for emulating an actual acoustic piano. Consider buying a triple pedal if you will regularly need to use these pedals.

There were many factors that took place to deciding which keyboard sustain pedals were the best! Factors included pricing, durability, and quality. The most recommended piano pedals are placed on top of the page.

5 Best Digital Piano Sustain Pedals

M-Audio SP-Triple Electronic Keyboard Pedal with Sustain, Soft, and Sostenuto Functions

This triple keyboard sustain pedal by M-Audio can work with any keyboard. It contains 3 quarter inch cables which enables this.

With the rubber under-slide, you can rest assure that this pedal will not slip away from you.

It also features a reverse polarity effect. By flipping the switch on the bottom of the pedal, the effects of the pedal will be reversed.

Please read through the many happy customer reviews on Amazon to feel more secured if you plan on purchasing this pedal.

Click here for reviews and pricing on Amazon.com

Studiologic VFP-3-10 Triple Piano-Style Open Polarity Sustain Pedal with Mono and Stereo Connector

This triple sustain pedal by Studiologic is superior in its sensibility, stereo and mono connectors, and similarity to an actual piano pedal.

A key feature to this triple pedal is the rubber levers, which promote long use and grip.

A problem with this pedal is that it cannot connect to all keyboards. Please check and see if your keyboard is able to use this pedal before purchasing it.

It is recommended more to purchase the M-Audio triple sustain pedal over this, as it is cheaper, can be used with any keyboard, and has higher customer reviews.

Also, you can check out the other pedals that Studiologic has to offer.

Click here for reviews and pricing on Amazon.com

M-Audio SP-2 Universal Sustain Pedal with Piano Style Action for Electronic Keyboards

This bestselling sustain pedal from M-Audio will most definitely be a satisfactory buy!
This sustain pedal can work with any keyboard, so you do not have to worry about buying something that will not work.
With the reversible polarity, realistic pedal feel, and non slip bottom, you will have in your possession a quality sustain pedal.
Note: After personally using this pedal for about 3 years, it was worn down to the point where it could no longer be used. But, for only 20 dollars, this sustain pedal was still definitely worth the buy!
Click on this video to see an expert review on this best piano pedal:

Yamaha FC3A Piano Style Sustain Foot Pedal with Half-Pedaling

This Yamaha keyboard pedal is compatible with any keyboard, including half pedal compatibility.
If you compare the Yamaha FC3 to the Yamaha FC4, the big difference is half pedal compatibility. The Yamaha FC4 does not support half pedaling.
Some complaints from users of this pedal is that the pedal does not feel like an actual acoustic piano pedal.
This pedal also features reversibility polarity, so you can have pedal either sustain or release while being pressed.
The rubber under side will prevent slippage, which is an important trait to have.

Roland DP-10 Real-Feel Pedal with Non-Slip Rubber Plate

This sustain pedal is manufactured by Roland, a well known keyboard manufacturing company.
While it is built by a prestigious company, it features a fatal flaw. It is not compatible with all keyboards. You must have a keyboard that is half or full pedal compatible. A Casio or any relatively inexpensive keyboard will not be able to use this sustain pedal.
This pedal features reverse polarity, non stick grip, and a quarter inch cable that can be inserted into most keyboards.


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Best Piano Benches

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10 Best Piano Benches Reviews 2017

Whether at home, at the studio, or on the concert stage, choosing the best piano bench will provide comfort and aesthetic pleasure.

When choosing the best keyboard bench, there are several factors that need to be taken into consideration. These factors include:

  • Adjustable Seats – This is a very important factor to consider, as all people have different sizes and different sitting positions in which they feel the most comfortable performing. Make sure to choose a piano bench that has adjustable sizes.
  • Hydraulic vs Turn Dial Adjustments – Hydraulic benches are becoming much more popular among piano benches. These best piano benches use the advent of technology to its advantage. It is much easier to adjust a bench that uses hydraulics in comparison to the traditional turn dial adjustments.
  • Piano bench vs Piano chair – At the Oberlin Conservatory, many of the practice rooms contain adjustable piano chairs. Piano chairs contain back rests, which is ideal for those who plan to practice for many hours and would like to rest their backs.
  • Single or Duet Bench – For any performance, recording, or teaching setting, it is preferable to have both a single and duet piano bench. As a pianist, you are expected to learn duet pieces, and you will need a duet bench in order to comfortable sit while playing these pieces. A single bench is recommended for solo performance, recordings, or practice.

This list shows the most recommended benches on the top of the page.

HM Hydraulic Piano Bench – 30″ Premium Leather

This best hydraulic piano bench by Hidrau Model is the most top notch hydraulic piano bench on the market. It features wide spacing, leather padding, and a huge range for height adjustment.

Consider using this best piano bench in recording studios and concert halls.

This product also features a 12 month warranty so you can be ensured that you spent your money wisely!

Being a hydraulic bench, it is heavier that the traditional piano benches. It weights over 30 pounds, so be careful when moving it about.

Here is a recording that I made while using a Hidrau Model Hydraulic Piano Bench:

Click here for reviews and pricing on Amazon.com

Hidrau 43 Inch Duet Hydraulic Grand Piano Bench

This hydraulic duet piano bench by Hidrau Model is the most superior piano duet bench. The structure of this bench is made from metal, which provides a stable and strong support.

The hydraulic mechanism on this bench is completely silent, so you will not only easily slide from one adjustment to another, but quietly too!

This best piano duet bench features a wider bench so that two people can sit on the bench at once.

Consider buying this piano bench for professional use.

Click here to see a video review of the Hidrau Bench:

Click here for reviews and pricing on Amazon.com

Stagg PBH 780 BKP VBK Hydraulic Piano Bench

For those looking for a more affordable hydraulic piano bench, this is it!

This beautiful hydraulic piano bench is used at many international piano competitions.This best adjustable piano bench sturdy and the hydraulic adjustment mechanism allows you to quickly and effortless slide from one adjustment to another.

Watch this video as George Li, a competitor at the International Chopin Competition, uses a hydraulic piano bench –

This product weighs about 30 pounds, so it may be a bit difficult to lift and move about in a studio space. But with the extra weight, you are certain that the bench will not move or slide during a performance or recording session.

Click on this video to see the Stagg Piano bench:

Click here for more reviews and pricing on Amazon.com

Stagg Piano Bench with Adjustable Height – Black

This best piano bench by Stagg, a well known company for producing high quality piano benches, a beautiful black gloss finish, soft padding, and an adjustable seat.

Being only 14 pounds, this bench can be moved with ease.

This piano bench is recommended for home use by a single person. If you are a piano teacher and plan on having many students sit on your piano bench, it is recommended to buy a sturdier piano bench.

Click here for more reviews and pricing on Amazon.com

Stagg PB245 BKP VBK Double Piano Bench

This duet bench by Stagg features individualized height adjustments, so that one person can select a height that is different from the other person.

This best piano duet bench is highly recommended for piano teachers who wish to perform duets with their younger students. Also, this can be used professionally in a concert setting.

Click here for reviews and pricing from Amazon.com

Adjustable Genuine Leather Artist Concert Piano Bench in Ebony

This best artist piano bench by CPS Imports is made from wood and has a thick and soft leather cushion.
It features the classic turn dial height adjustment. Height adjustment is done manually by twisting the dial either forward or backward.
There is a compartment in the chair where you can store your sheet music and other items that you wish to store.
This best piano bench is quite heavy, weighing over 30 pounds. However, it is very sturdy, and is recommended for use as a piano teacher.

Adjustable Duet Size Genuine Leather Artist Piano Bench in Ebony

This best piano duet bench is made from hard wood and has a heavy duty mechanism for adjusting the height of the seat. The cushion of the seat is covered with real leather

This bench is very sturdy, and can be used for a large period of time. Consider buying this if you wish to have a duet bench that will be used often.

This bench also comes in a variety of colors, so choose the color that fits your studio best.

A compartment for storing various objects is also contained in this bench.

Watch this video to get more insights and an adjustable piano bench review on this CPS Duet Piano Bench:

Click here for reviews and pricing from Amazon.com

Adjustable Pillow Top Genuine Leather Artist Piano Bench in Ebony

This is a quality piano bench that features a compartment section, leather seating, and a silent micro adjustment.
The seventeen buttons seen on the top of the cushion provide quality comfort as you are playing the piano.
This is a very strong bench, and is made from hard wood to ensure stability and long time use.
Consider buying this for any use, whether teaching or performing.

Ebony Adjustable Piano Chair Bench with Back

If you are looking for a high quality piano chair, this is it! This is the best piano bench with back.

This best piano chair from CPS Imports features a padded seat, adjustable heights, and a hard wood foundation. This piano chair is stable and can be used for a long period of time.

With the use of the clips in the back of the chair, this best adjustable piano chair with back can adjust to seven different positions.

Consider buying this best piano chair if you wish to have a piano bench with back rest while practicing piano.

Tip: Do not actually practice piano with you back against the rest, as you will never be able to transfer your body weight into the piano. Lean back against the back rest whenever you wish to take a short break from playing.

Click here for reviews and pricing on Amazon.com

Ebony Adjustable Artist Piano Bench

If you take the time to read the piano bench reviews from Amazon.com, you will notice that there are very many happy customer reviews with this piano bench.
This very affordable and beautiful artist bench for piano is sturdy, has a compartment section, and heavy duty mechanism for height adjustment.
For the price of this piano bench, you will be receiving a wonderful deal. This best piano bench, being made from hard wood, will be able to last for a long period of time.
Assembling for this piano bench is also very simple. All you will have to do is attach the legs to the piano bench, and you are set!

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10 Best Sheet Music Publishing Companies

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10 Best Piano Sheet Music Editions

This list of best piano sheet music editions come from my personal experience of using these scores, and from research of what professional musicians say about these scores.

If you have purchased sheet music and it has not come from one of these editors, chances are, you have purchased a bad edition to your music. If you are going to spend money on sheet music, you need to do it right!

Editions are ranked from most recommended on top to least recommended on bottom.

Barenreiter Urtext

best sheet music editions

Bärenreiter urtext was founded in 1927 by Karl Vötterle in Kassel, Germany.

This edition is best for composers Faure, Schütz, Johanne Sebastion Bach, Handel, Telemann, Gluck, Mozart, Schubert and Berlioz, as they have their complete compositions published.

Using the latest methods of musicology research and modern printing, Barenreiter promises the most qualified and authoritative editions.

ABRSM Signature Series

best sheet music editions

http://us.abrsm.org/en/home

In the UK, ABRSM is one of the largest music publishers and the largest music education body. It provides quality exams for musical students all over the world. In its signature series, ABRSM provides high quality editions to classical composer’s works. It is now considered to be one of the best editions for any classical music score.

International Music Company

best sheet music editions

https://bournemusic.com/imc/

This edition was founded in 1941 by by A.W. Haendler in New York. This company is currently owned by Bourne Co. Music Publishers.

This edition’s cover has black text, and a simple, single colored background.

Noteworthy editors of this edition include Ferruccio Busoni, Kenneth Cooper, and Arthur Schnabel.

It is recommended to use this edition when studying a work by Johannes Brahms. 

Wiener/Vienna Urtext Edition

best sheet music editions

http://www.wiener-urtext.com/

In 1972, Wiener Urtext Edition was founded. This edition attempts to follow the composer’s original writing as close as possible. Inside of the sheet music score, there are “Preface,” “Critical notes,” and “Notes on Interpretation” sections. These sections give certain insights into the music, such as information on the history of the piece, what sources the editors used for the music, and how to play in the stylistic period.

This edition’s cover for its sheet music is in a deep, luscious orange.

Henle Verlag Urtext

best piano sheet music editions - Henle Verlag

http://www.henleusa.com/us/home/index.html

You can never go wrong with the Henle Verlag Urtext. This edition, in its lovely and simple blue covering, is trusted and recommended by all professional pianist and teachers.

Founded by Gunter Henle in 1948, this great sheet music edition company focuses on printing urtext edition of the best classical composers.

Being an accomplished pianist, Henle came to notice that there were not any accurate editions of a composer’s musical work. Many of the editions that existed were filled with numerous errors and fallacious commentary that was added by previous editors and arrangers.

As of now, the Henle Verlag catalogue contains more than 1000 titles.

In the publishing house located in Munich, Germany, twenty-employees work for the Henle Verlag editions. These employees include musicologist with PhD’s and experienced music dealers.

Durand Salabert Eschig (Durand Edition)

best sheet music editions

http://www.durand-salabert-eschig.com/

In 1869, Auguste Durand, a composer and organist who studied at the Paris Conservatoire with Cesar Franck and Camille Saint-Saëns, founded the Edition Durand Salabert Eschig.

This edition is known for its high quality of producing sheet music from French composers, notably Debussy and Ravel. Composers who had their music composed in their lifetimes with Durand Editions include Louis Aubert, Andre Caplet, Claude Debussy, Paul Dukas, Gabriel Faure, Vincent d’Indy, Maurice Ravel, Albert Roussel, Camille Saint-Saens, and Florent Schmitt.

A notably editor for this edition is Alfred Cortot. Look especially for his edition of Chopin’s music.

Edition Peters

best piano sheet music

http://www.edition-peters.com/

Edition Peters has been publishing sheet music for over 200 years. In 1800, its founders, Franz Anton Hoffmeister and Ambrosius Kühnel, established the company in Leipzig.

It successfully published the music of the greatest contemporary composers of the time, such as Haydn and Beethoven.

The company’s name was “Neuer Verlag des Bureau de Musique” at the time. After the death of Kuhnel in 1814, the company was passed down to Carl Friedrich Peters, a Leipzig bookseller. This edition strives to produce cheap, yet critically accurate publications of sheet music.

Edition Peters is known for its yellow and light green cover page.

Alfred Masterwork Edition

best sheet music editions

http://www.alfred.com/AlfredPiano/Masterworks

The Alfred Masterwork Edition features piano sheet music of all kinds such as theory, piano favorites, and beginning books.

Notable editors of this edition include Dr. Maurice Hinson, Dr. Williard A. Palmer, and Stewart Gordon.

Dover Publications

best music sheet editions

http://store.doverpublications.com/by-subject-music.html

Dover Music Publications offers the cheapest and most inexpensive editions to your favorite music scores. Dover offers the widest variety of sheet music as well, in comparison to other music publishing companies. The covers to each of their sheet music is beautifully decorated and aesthetically pleasing to look at.

While their edition is the most affordable, they are known for having a few typos in their scores. If you are an amateur pianist who is not looking to spend too much for their sheet music, then Dover is the way to go. Their sheet music is an excellent first copy to any composer’s work to have.

In 1941, Haywood Cirker founded the Dover publishing company. This company focuses on publishing out-of-print titles of classical scores. For example, Their edition of the Bach Prelude and Fugues is a reproduction of the expired Bach-Gesellschaft edition.

You can also usually find Dover’s sheet music for free on IMSLP.

Kalmus Edition

best sheet music editions

https://www.kalmus.co.uk/

While this edition is not known for its quality, it is known for having the best editions for rather obscure pieces, such as the Scriabin Piano concerto.

If you are looking for this edition, look for the black and gold text on the cover page.

Take special care of the sheet music for this edition, as the cover page is rather thin and does not protect the score too well.

Also, this edition is known for having quite a few typos.

Other Good Sheet Music Editions

Other editions that are very good, but did not make it to the list include: Paderewski, Budapest, Schirmer, Boosey and Hawkes, and Chappell/Intersong edition.

These editions did not make it because they specialize only with a specific composer. The Paderewski edition specializes with Chopin, and the Budapest specializes with Liszt. 

The Schirmer and Chappell/Intersong editions, although are popular,  did not make the list because they are known for containing errors and misprints. (Schirmer is actually good with Scarlatti and other Baroque composers)

Boosey and Hawkes does not provide meaningful insights into their editions.

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Choosing the Right Piano Teacher

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Choice of Piano Instructor

If you are making the decision to have your children play the piano, or you want to begin learning how to play the piano, it is of utmost importance to choose the right teacher!

best sheet music editions

There are actually many teachers out there that teach the piano incorrectly! Some piano professors argue that only 1 in 100 piano teachers can actually teach how to play the piano correctly.

Through this page, you will learn why it is that there are so many bad piano teachers out there, and the ways that you can find the correct piano teacher that will lead you to the blessings of the correct way to play piano.

Note: starting off with a local piano teacher is not a bad idea. However, once you or your child are showing signs of becoming serious with the piano, it is time to start looking for a very good teacher.

Importance of Best Piano Teachers

Norman Krieger

Watch this Video by Norman Krieger, Professor of Piano at the Jacobs School of Music (previously USC Thorton School of Music) and listen to how he describes the importance of parents finding the right teacher for their children.

Go to 3:50 on the video to listen to this.

Professor Krieger mentions that the parents of his students had to search diligently to find the best piano teachers in their area. If these parents settled for the neighborhood piano teacher, their children would have never grown to the high level of playing that is necessary to enter a prestigious music school.

Parents need to be supportive of their children’s work. A great factor that determines the success of a young student is their parent’s support. If the parent is willing to put in the time and effort to search for a great teacher, their child will surely benefit from it!

Daniel Pollack

Also, watch this video by Daniel Pollack, another great pianist and piano teacher at the USC Thorton School of Music.

Professor Pollack tells his story of how he came to study at Juilliard, one of the most prestigious music schools in the U.S., and how he came to begin his career as a concert pianist.

Listen to how Professor Pollack mentions that he started with a neighborhood piano teacher until he was six years old, and how his parents had to search for the best teacher in his area to continue to develop with the piano.

If his parents had not made the decision to switch piano teachers and to spend time finding the best teacher around, he may have never continued to develop as a pianist.

Signs of a Bad Piano Teacher

Even piano teachers that have great reputation could actually not be great teachers!

Here are some notable signs that you may be studying with a bad teacher:

best sheet music editions

  • Lack of communication: Good teachers understand the importance of bonding with their students, and the importance of having their other students bond with each other. Good teachers will spend time trying to learn more about their students, and possibly set up events where the other students can befriend each other.
  • Lack of Progress: If you feel that you are not developing much at the piano, chances are that it is not completely your fault! A good teacher teaches their students how to think on their own, to think of good ways of how to practice a piece, and offers advice on developing technique. Good teachers will also find incentives for their students to want to practice harder, such as doing recitals and participating in competitions.
  • The Incentive to CareRosina Lhévinne, a legendary piano teacher who taught at the Juilliard School, was known to call her students early in the morning in order to remind them to practice. Having a piano teacher that genuinely cares about you and your practicing will encourage you to work harder at the piano.

It is not easy to be a good piano teacher. Most colleges only teach their music majors about performing, and not about teaching methods and techniques. These kind of teachers are stuck teaching their students in a fashion that is similar to the way they were taught. They do not research new teaching techniques, or try to do anything innovative to encourage their students to learn.

Here are some websites that offers great innovative teaching strategies.

  • https://timtopham.com
  • http://www.practisingthepiano.com/blog/
  • http://colorinmypiano.com

Some teachers may be very talented pianists themselves, but are not passionate about teaching. A teacher may just be a natural at the piano, and does not know how to explain to a student how to play a certain passage.

Some teachers do not even have a degree in music, and simply teach because they have a brilliant business mindset and can scam people into their counterfeit piano lessons and make a profit. These are the worst kind of teachers, and unfortunately, the most prominent as well.

Teachers that have had to struggle with learning are often the best kind of teachers, as they may be able to better articulate how to improve on the piano, and may be more compassionate with their students.

Where to Find the Best Piano Teachers

best sheet music editions
Rosina Lhevinne and Van Cliburn

One place where you will find the best piano teachers in your area will be at the nearby universities that you live. Do research on the teacher you will choose. Read their bios, see what universities they have studied, what people they have collaborated with, and what places they have performed.

For example, if you live in the Los Angeles Area, the places where you would find the best teachers would be at the Colburn Community School of Performing Arts, Thornton School of Music at USC, Cal State Northridge, UCLA, and Cal Arts. Of course, there are other places that have excellent teachers, but this is just there to name a few.

After locating the places that contain the best teachers, contact these teachers, and see if you can take a lesson with them. Choose the teacher that you feel the most comfortable with, and who you feel with be able to instruct you and lead you to great piano playing. If you are choosing a piano teacher for you child, it is best to watch and observe the first couple of lessons to make sure that you have found a good teacher.

Best of luck with finding the best piano teacher. Your efforts in finding the best teacher will most definitely pay off.

For those that live in California, these websites will aid in finding the right teacher:

http://steinwaylosangeles.com/piano-teachers

http://pianoteachersfederation.org/for-students

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