Piano lessons for my niece
August 28, 2011 5:36 PM   Subscribe

How to find a piano teacher.

My niece is 4 years old. Her parents love finding random free things from craigslist. One of those things happened to be a piano. In the past two years her mother has shown her a few songs. She picks up songs quickly and begins to play them on her own. Just recently, with the help of her mother she played a song from church.

I don't want to push anything on her but she shows a lot of talent for music, is disciplined and loves to learn.

How does one go about finding a piano teacher? How much is it typically? Would they come to the house or would they go somewhere else?

By the way they live in central new jersey.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.
posted by lifeonholidae to Education (4 answers total)
It's a bit easier with piano teachers (since there are usually so many more of them), but I always suggest that folks get in touch with the music department at your local university. They usually have lists of students who are interested in giving lessons, or they can at least put you in touch with other reputable teachers. You can also try checking your local music store or piano shop.

Here in the Seattle area, rates are anywhere from $25 to $60 for a half-hour lesson (and I definitely do not recommend anything longer for a 4 year old). The teaching arrangement can go either way - some teachers make house calls (some prefer it) while others may want you to go to their house / studio.
posted by rossination at 5:56 PM on August 28, 2011

This is basically the same scenario we had -- we got a piano when my son had just turned 5, and since he seemed so into it and was picking out tunes on his own, we decided to start lessons. We found a teacher by asking friends, family and neighbors. It turns out that a respected teacher lives just down the street. The lessons are 30 minutes long, and that's plenty for a small kid. We pay $30, which is discounted because we go to her house. Her usual charge is $35 and up for students who she has to travel to.

You can also check Craigslist, and the bulletin board at any local music shops -- the kind of place that sells instruments and sheet music.
posted by BlahLaLa at 6:40 PM on August 28, 2011

Nthing contacting the music department at local universities. I lived in Central NJ and took piano lessons there from both Westminster Choir College and Princeton University. However, I'd already been taking lessons for seven years before I started doing conservatory (though I do know that you can enter one at a young age). If they approach Princeton, she would probably not be given lessons by one of the professors and would be taught by one of their college students. I also did a summer of lessons at the New School for Music Study in Princeton.

Some teachers will offer both group lessons and individual lessons, which I highly recommend (the group lesson will be less frequent than the weekly individual lesson). Group lessons offer a chance to do duets and learn how to play with others.

I also really recommend letting her try out a few teachers, once her parents have screened a few. I almost quit playing because I went through a series of teachers whose goals were very different than mine. Some studios are very competitive and may have students participate in ten competitions a year. Others may focus on just playing for fun, with only an occasional competition.

Feel free to memail me if you have any other questions. I had six different teachers while living in Central Jersey (and have friends who took from others), so I may be able to recommend a few other private studios.
posted by pianohands at 5:49 AM on August 29, 2011

Call your local chapter of American Federation of Musicians for a reference.
posted by BostonTerrier at 6:59 AM on August 29, 2011

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