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New Beginners Need a Professional Teacher, Too!

The Fall semester is starting soon and families are finding lots of new and exciting activities for their children to explore. When families are already juggling multiple activities and children, it may be tempting to find the least expensive piano teacher or program for their youngest children. After all, how different can beginning piano lessons be?

In reality, the teacher you choose for those earliest lessons can be a huge factor in your child's success at the piano!

Imagine this scenario: a student is enrolled in piano lessons with a young, but inexperienced student teacher at a local college. The lessons start off well, because there's a new setting, but very quickly your child loses interest in practicing at home. When he does go to the piano, it seems like he is playing pieces that haven't been assigned to him, or just making sounds at the keyboard.

The teacher may come to you ask that you keep your student from working ahead, or ask why they haven't practiced more. Pushing your child to practice becomes a daily battle and the child is no longer excited to go to lessons.

When you ask your child, who was initially very excited about lessons why he no longer enjoys them, you may get a number of reasons, including "I don't like piano," "It's too hard," "Piano is boring," "I don't like the songs," "All we do is books," "I don't know what to practice," etc.

The semester ends with a large public performance, which causes so much pressure and anxiety that he would rather quit than perform in public. At that point, it may seem like dropping out of lessons is the only option - after all, why pay for something that your child doesn't seem to be connecting with?

I heard all of these stories from students who have transferred to me from another teaching situation. While all teachers - including myself - started out somewhere, first-time teachers tend to stick close to method books and teach very much the same way that they were taught. Sometimes this works, but more often than not, it can become monotonous for the student, which is usually when problems arise!

Now imagine another scenario: the same student instead started out with a professional, certified teacher who runs a private studio from home. This teacher is more expensive than the music school teacher, but has nearly 2 decades of teaching experience and offers online and in-person lesson and activity options. This may seem like too much for a beginner for some, but let's imagine how having access to an incredible studio and professional teacher could make a difference:

The lessons start off well, and the teacher keeps the student engaged after the newness has worn off by assigning fun, recognizable pieces outside of their regular method, teaches the student new songs by ear so they have repeatable success not tied to music reading ability, and always has a game ready during the lesson to support learning any new concept.

You notice your students is getting better at reading music on their own, so they start reading ahead in their method books on their own - and the teacher is THRILLED! They move quickly through their method books and learn something new every lesson. You notice that your child plays one of their songs on any piano you pass by.

The student is supported throughout the week via Google Classroom, where he can review notes from the lesson, watch tutorial videos and listen to recordings of his pieces so he always knows exactly what to practice. If there's a question during the week, he can message his teacher on Google Classroom and quickly get an answer.

He participates in studio incentives to practice and learn more pieces, so he is more motivated to practice at home. The teacher provides ongoing support for new piano parents to teach them about how to structure practice time at home, as well as strategies to help their child if they get stuck in their practice.

The student is invited to participate in studio classes, studio recitals, and contests are scheduled throughout the year. He makes friends with other students in the studio and they encourage each other to consistently improve their playing. When they get together at each other's houses - there's lots of piano playing!

There are lots of smaller opportunities to perform throughout the year so the pressure is less on any one performance, and performing becomes easier over time. He finishes the year feeling successful and loving to play for his friends and family.

What a difference teaching approach and environment can make! With a professional, certified teacher, the same student was able to make progress and be successful because he and his family received the support he needed throughout the year. So while it may seem that a beginner can take lessons anywhere and from anyone that knows how to play the piano, that's really not the case. Teaching beginners well is an art, and is something that professional teachers develop and perfect over time.

So if you're looking for lessons for your first-time piano student, take a trial lesson and ask the teacher how they plan to do the things mentioned in that second scenario. If it's not a good fit, keep shopping for the right professional teacher - it will make all the difference in the world to your child, and is a better investment of your hard-earned money.

If you want to see if the Stackhouse Piano Studio is right for you, contact me to schedule a free trial lesson! I would be glad to show you how taking lessons from a certified professional can make all the difference in growing your child's love for piano.

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Feb 21
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

WOW that is such an eye-opener. I know I'm guilty of only looking at price, but ultimately I want my kiddos to enjoy what I'm paying for. Who knew that starting with a pro could make such a difference!

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