So many people have the words ‘learn to play piano’ on their bucket lists. The first step to turning this dream into a reality is to head to your favourite online search engine and type in ‘piano lessons near me’ and this is likely to yield an extensive list of music teachers close to your neighbourhood.
If you keep reading, you will find out more about what kind of piano tuition is available and how to go about finding tutors to teach you to play piano.
“Without music, life would be a mistake” ― Friedrich Nietzsche
Finding Piano Teachers via Word-of-Mouth
The fact is that in the current digital age it has never actually been easier to find just about anything and this goes for music tutors of just about any instrument – so whether it’s the piano, saxophone, drums, acoustic guitar or cello, the power of the internet is at your service.
However, personal recommendations are always preferable so before you begin your search for a music teacher online, speak to your network of family, friends and colleagues. This way you will get personal reviews which are still the most valuable – even in the information age.
Also, it has become increasingly popular for people to learn to play piano, so it is actually possible that someone you know is already on a musical journey that you could benefit from. This is why you should tell people what your plans are.
Being taught by a tutor is very personal, so it’s really important that you try and meet them before agreeing to lessons, this is probably the most important advice in finding the right music teacher for you.
So where to start?
Your Online Piano Tutor Search
As already mentioned the digital world is extremely powerful, so if you don’t have a personal recommendation, the place to find a great deal of options to choose from, is the internet.
Two important things to remember here is that the tutor will only put their positive reviews up, which means they might not be entirely accurate.
The second thing is that you are likely to get so many search results online, that it might be wise to actually search ‘piano lessons near me’ – this will not only save you a lot of time searching for the right piano teacher, but also save you time getting to and from lessons once you start them.
In South Africa, tutoring websites like Superprof are really useful in that you can filter your search by location and instrument. Not only will you be able to see the tutor’s personal profile, which can give you a very good sense of what they are like, but you will be also be able to see their reviews and compare their rates with other tutors near you.
And if you don’t find a tutor near you, Superprof could connect you with a tutor from anywhere around the world and you could learn online, all you need is a web cam and internet connection.
The Power of Social Media to Find a Piano Teacher
Almost everyone has a personal smart phone, tablet or computer these days. And almost everyone has at least one or two social media channel accounts – these online platforms greatly extend our worlds.
Social media is extremely powerful in providing access to personal recommendations from your network – you simply have to post the question and ask, or you can use the channel’s search functionality.
Here are some of the most popular social media channels and how you can use them.
Using Facebook is similar to searching via a search engine like Google or Safari, you can look for groups that are dedicated to piano teachers and you can even search directly on the platform by typing in ‘piano teacher’ – this is likely to result in hundreds of pages of tutors – which, admittedly, can be slightly overwhelming.
The best way to find what you are looking for via Instagram is to use the search and hashtag functionality to find accounts of people who teach piano. Alternatively, you can create your own post to tell your network of followers that you are looking for piano lessons nearby.
In a similar way, Twitter is an effective way to broadcast your message to what could be a very broad online social media network. Again, there is also the option of using search functionality to find a piano teacher – hopefully, near you.
Finding a Music Teacher in the Classifieds
The internet is not for everybody and, if this is you, don’t worry, the more traditional methods of finding local music teachers, like word-of-mouth recommendations, community or school notice boards or newspaper classifieds still work very effectively.
Check out the notice boards at your local shopping centre. Amongst people advertising their garden or baby-sitting services, you may find a notice about piano lessons. Take note of the phone number or email address and you are on your way to finding a private tutor the old fashioned way.
When you call, resist the urge to make a final decision over the phone as meeting them face-to-face will be extremely valuable in helping you to decide on the right tutor.
To get the most out of this first phone call and to establish whether you do actually want to meet them or not, have a few key questions lined up to help you. These could include:
- Where are you located?
- Do you prefer to travel to your pupils or teach at your home?
- What are you rates?
- What days and times do you have available?
- Do you offer a free introductory lesson?
- Do you have a specific teaching approach, or could this be discussed together?
Post a Personal Advert
As mentioned, you could post an ad on your social media channels, or you could actually design and post one for your local community noticeboards at your school, church or shopping centre.
Firstly, make sure it’s really eye-catching and stands out on a crowded notice board, then get straight to the point in your headline e.g. ‘Looking for a Private Piano Tutor’. Other information that should be included in your ad.
- Your name, phone number
- Musical ability – beginner, intermediate, advanced
- The style of music you are most keen to learn (e.g. Blues, Jazz, Classical or Rock)
- Consider mentioning your desire to learn music theory, reading sheet music, history of music or improvisation, if you want to be that specific.
Speak to Someone Who Plays the Piano
Everyone knows someone who plays the piano, ask around and see if you can find a friend or a friend of a friend to talk to before you embark on investing in piano lessons. Not only will they give you good advice on where to start, but they may even agree to give you a friendly lesson to test the waters and see if you really want to learn to play piano.
Having a trial private lesson with a friend is an excellent way to find out in a really relaxed way if piano for you. As an added bonus, you’ll also get to hang out with your friend while they share their skills with you. Perhaps you could choose a song and ask them to teach you how to play it.
If this trial goes well, your friend may even agree to continue tutoring you. It doesn’t really matter if your friend is classically trained or not, you can always supplement these sessions with music theory with someone else if necessary.
As a beginner, music theory is not critical right away, but as you advance, some knowledge of music theory can certainly help you to understand your instrument better and supply greater depth to your piano playing skills.
The best part about working with a private tutor that suits you, is that you can discuss your personal goals for learning how to play piano. Perhaps you would like to learn a specific piece of music, or perhaps you already have some piano playing ability and want to focus on a specific aspect of tutoring like improvisation, fingering, reading music, ear training or music history.
Often, advanced players hire a private piano tutor to help them prepare for an audition at a prestigious music school like The South African College of Music at the University of Cape Town.
In fact there are so many different ways to learn how to play piano with methods to suit just about every budget. So if this is really on your bucket list, there are many ways to achieve this goal, just start your search today.