After Looking for a Music Teacher, Then What?

The blog has covered how to find a music teacher, but what do you do if you find one and then decide that isn’t the teacher for you?  I’ve run into this scenario several times in the past few months.  This is how it goes:

Potential student calls or emails and asks for information about lessons.  We correspond through phone or email.  We get all the way to discussing potential times and they fall off the face of the earth.  No returned phone calls or emails.

I have to say this is really rude.  If you decide that I am not the teacher for you, then that is fine.  If the location is too far, that isn’t a problem.  However, don’t just leave me hanging.  Send an email or leave a message and just say thank you for your time but we have decided to go a different direction.  There is no need to go into detail, but since you initiated the conversation have the courtesy to end it on a professional note.

Another situation of the same vein is going as far as to schedule lessons and then not showing up or cancelling when the teacher calls to confirm the lesson time.  Usually late spring, I get lots of calls about students who want to start lessons when school gets out.  We discuss cost and times and schedule the first lesson.  I always email or call to confirm the time.  If I have to leave a message, I ask that they call or email to let me know they received it.  Several times, this has been the last contact with a potential student.  If you changed your mind just let me know.  Otherwise, that time slot if blocked off until I determine that aliens abducted you or you bailed on me. 

If you teach an instrument that requires special equipment this is doubly frustrating.  I have a few oboe students.  When I schedule a new student, I order lesson books and custom made reeds.  If the student is a beginner there is no way around this.  Since oboe students can be few and far between, I don’t always keep intro level reeds and materials on hand.  This spring a parent contacted me and scheduled lessons.  We booked for the whole summer.  2 weeks prior to the start date, I ordered materials so they would arrive in time for the first lesson.  The week of the lesson, I called to confirm the time and directions. The parent told me that the child had changed their mind about learning the oboe.  It was obvious from the phone call that this wasn’t a new development.  A simple phone call or email on their part would have saved me around $50.

Be considerate.  For most music teachers, this is our livelyhood.  Having to sit on materials or not scheduling new students in a blocked off time slot can hurt our bottom line.  If you expect your teacher to be a professional, then treat them as one and be considerate of their time and effort.

How to Find a Piano Teacher- Part 2

On Friday, we talked about how to find a piano teacher.  The first thing you need is a name.  What were our steps?

1.  Ask your neighbors

2.  Google your area

3.  Visit reputable teacher websites


Now that you have a few names in hand what is the next step?  You need to interview teachers and interview with teachers.  The best of mode of communication really depends on the teacher.  Let’s face it, most piano teachers are stereo typed as old ladies with cats.  So yes, you will find teachers who don’t communicate by email.  You will definitely have to call these teachers to get information and to feel out what their personalities are.


If you do find teachers who are more technologically savvy, don’t hesitate to email them with a request for them to call you.  My reasoning on this is simple.  I teach from around 1:00 to 8:00 Monday thru Thursday.  I do not answer phone calls while I’m teaching. I don’t want you to think that I’m ignoring you or not getting back to you.  I can however, send you a quick email that I received your inquiry and will contact you back as soon as I have a break or am done teaching.  If you want to include details in your email or questions, this is a great idea.  Any info that the potential teacher has to help answer questions or address concerns is appreciated.


What questions should you ask a potential piano teacher about beginning lessons in their studio?


1.  What is your training?

2.  What opportunities do your students have for performances and festivals?

3.  Do you have a policy sheet?

4.  Are lessons customized for the student’s learning style?

5.  What is your availability?

6.  What do lessons cost and are their additional fees?


The answers that the teacher gives you should give you a feel if you would like to continue to the next step of scheduling a trial lesson or signing up for lessons.  Follow your instincts.  Not every teacher is suited for every student.  Be honest with yourself when looking at the type of teacher you want.  Taking piano lessons is a big commitment.  You are learning another language.  Find the teacher that is best suited for your educational needs. 

How To Find a Piano Teacher

If you live in a small town then finding a piano teacher is probably pretty easy.  What if you live in a big city or just moved to a new area and need to find a new piano teacher?


Let’s take Charlotte, NC for an example city for finding a piano teacher for your child who wants to take lessons.  Obviously the first thing would be to ask around.  Do the neighbors recommend anyone or is there music business in your immediate area?  If the answers to these questions are yes then you probably want to check out the reputations of those in question.  If the answer is no then follow the next steps.  Google is your friend.  Type in piano lessons charlotte, nc or piano teachers charlotte, nc.  This is a great place to get started.  The first page is usually going to be larger studios or music businesses.  Take a look at the map on the right to see what is in your area.  However, keep in mind that many of the local independent teachers cannot afford to maintain space on the first page of searches.  Keep looking on to the next pages for those independent teacher websites. 


Another good way to find a piano teacher is to look at websites that piano teachers advertise on.  Some reputable websites for Charlotte, NC are:


Search these websites for teachers in your area.  Cross check them to see the different teacher ratings on each site. 

Make a list of the teachers that are interesting to you.  We will talk on Monday about interviewing piano teachers to find the right teacher for you.