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!

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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:

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  • 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.


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

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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:


6 thoughts on “Choosing the Right Piano Teacher”

  1. I agree that it is a good idea not to settle on a piano teacher. However, I do think it is OK to begin with the local piano teacher. However, once your child is able to read sheet music it is probably time to have them move on to a more experienced teacher.

    1. Hi James, thank you for the comment!

      Local piano teachers are great because they can introduce young students to the piano. However, many local teachers try to hold on to their students, and do not try to introduce them to other teachers that can help the young student reach the next level of piano playing. I have personally seen so many talented young students who have so much potential, but their teachers will not give them the necessary information to look for other teachers that could help them improve on the piano.

      I hope that parents can read articles such as this so that they can understand the importance of not settling with their local piano teacher.

  2. I am looking to sign my two younger children up for piano lessons. It’s important that we find a teacher that will help them have an enjoyable experience. Learning musical abilities has so many academic and disciplinary benefits, but it should also be enjoyable. As you said, finding someone that genuinely care about their students will help them to work harder. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thank you for reading and sharing this comment!

      Best of luck with finding the best piano teacher for your children!

  3. I loved when you mentioned how it is a good idea to start looking for a piano teacher in your area. It makes sense to think that doing this can help you find the teacher that can be there when you need them and not charge too much for traveling fees. We are planning on enrolling our son in some piano lessons and want to find the best teacher for him, so I’m glad I found your post.

  4. Awesome article. I loved it! I totally agree that when it comes to learning music, especially piano, what you said is pretty spot on.
    A lot of guys struggle to get it right, and its great that there are people like you out here helping others through their struggle. Keep it up!
    I think going through a course like this would really help people too.


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