Piano teacher recommendation in Los Angeles
June 29, 2006 7:47 PM   Subscribe

Piano teacher recommendations for Los Angeles area? (Or, for those not in LA, how do I know if a piano teacher is any good?) Bonus points for someone who teaches good technique near the Studio City/Sherman Oaks area. (Also, if there's a good forum for getting such a recommendation, that'd be good info too)

Me: Opera singer, in last year of undergrad conservatory training. Need someone to teach me enough to get out of 2 years of piano classes (aka beat the placement test). Would be nice if I came out of a summer-worth of lessons with proper hand position/posture, able to play a goodly number of things without flopping my way around the piano.
posted by sirion to Education (4 answers total)
Can't help with the LA/SoCal recommendation, but I used to be married to a piano teacher, so let me opine, given your ideas.

If you need to learn classical piano technique in one summer, unless you're particularly gifted, and have extraordinary dedication, physical stamina, and loads of practice time, you're SOL in any practical sense. It takes a ton of practice just to read all the standard notation and make the correct fingerings, as a sight reader. If you could reduce the task to working up a few short exam pieces, for which you could memorize rote fingerings, you might have a better chance.

A more common shortcut solution is to take the approach of Scott Houston and others, who teach piano using "fakebook notation." Basically, they teach a few basic chord forms for the left hand, and focus on the right hand playing melody and some harmony, using jazz and popular songs for short term goals and positive feedback. It's actually the way a lot of popular music "ear" players learned to play, and it sounds good enough to most listeners to make it worth the while of the students to keep at it. My ex-wife had some luck with early versions of this technique with a few adult students she worked with, although she primarily taught teenaged students, using a traditional classical method and repertoire.

Nobody will mistake you for Chopin if you take this latter route, but if all you need to do is set chords and melodies for vocal accompaniment, it might be something to look into.
posted by paulsc at 9:30 PM on June 29, 2006

This should be helpful: MTNA Nationally Certified Teachers of Music Directory. And this has some guidelines for making your choice. Good luck and have fun!
posted by harrisb01 at 1:38 AM on June 30, 2006

harrisbo1- your links- they do not link. Have you other links?
posted by IndigoJones at 5:32 AM on June 30, 2006

Not sure what the problem is, but since I'm new here, it might be me. At any rate, the Music Teachers National Association has a searchable directory of certified music teachers, as well as guidelines for choosing one. Start at their home page at www.mtna.org, click on the "Find a Music Teacher" quick link. That worked for me just now. Guess I need to get this linking business figured out. Hmmm...
posted by harrisb01 at 1:26 AM on July 1, 2006

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