Guide to finding a piano teacher

If you’re looking for a piano teacher for your child, want to improve your own piano skills, or have decided today’s the day to learn a new skill - you’re in the right place!

At Encore Musicians, we have the largest selection of musicians and teachers across the UK and are here to talk you through the important questions and considerations to make when finding the right teacher for you.

Keep reading to find out when and where you can have private piano lessons, how to find the teacher that best suits your needs and the key credentials to look out for.

Finding the right teacher can be completely transformational, so let us help find you the perfect match.

Teacher credentials

You will find that most teachers you come across have studied music from a young age. There are various training levels for teachers in the UK and its likely that your teacher will have a music degree, although this isn’t essential.

In fact, you may choose a teacher without a degree, but who has been successfully teaching for a number of years as this experience can’t be taught!

Formal qualifications in the UK begin with graded exams (which you may like to take yourself) going from grade 1-8. The examination boards are usually ABRSM or Trinity College London.

Following these grades, musicians are likely to either pursue a degree, or diploma in performance or teaching:

ATCL (associate): equivalent to one year of an undergraduate degree
LTCL (licentiate): equivalent to the final year of an undergraduate degree
FTCL (fellowship): equivalent to a postgraduate course or conservatoire degree

  • Music college / conservatoire
  • University (BMus or similar)

Your piano teacher is likely to be classically trained, but if you are looking to learn a different style such as jazz, you may find different credentials available and more of a focus on performance, as jazz is such a performance based and often improvised live skill.

When deciding which teacher is right for you, you will need to decide what is more important to you.

For example, if you would like to learn about the history and context of pieces as you learn, or are hoping to pursue music as a career, you may prefer a teacher with a music degree due to the weighting on academic music as part of those studies.

If you’d particularly like to understand music theory as you progress, then look out for somebody who has taken grade 8 music theory qualifications or who has an equivalent degree.

If you are new to the instrument and would like somebody who is sensitive to the needs of a new learner, then somebody with lots of experience teaching may be your first choice.

Testimonials

What better way to understand somebody’s teaching style than to read about other student’s recommendations and reviews. On Encore you will have access to as many reviews from former and current students so that you can get a sense of how their personality may match with yours and understand what makes them a great teacher!

Security

At Encore we have measures in place to ensure that your teacher is very professional and safe for you to meet and have lessons with. We ensure their testimonials are verified, check their credentials, speak with each teacher on our site before allowing them to go out for work and most importantly, we list which teachers are DBS checked which is important for childrens piano lessons.

The DBS check produces an independent safeguarding certificate which ensures that unsuitable people aren’t working with vulnerable groups including children. Look out for the DBS certificate badge on Encore for complete peace of mind.

The DBC Certificate is a combination of the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) and the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB).

Choosing the right teacher

There are some considerations you may like to make when finding a teacher for your piano lessons.

Age

When surveying adults in particular, we found that many students enjoyed learning from somebody of a similar age to them which you may like to factor in.

Secondly, some teachers will specialise, or have a lot of experience in teaching children. When finding a teacher for your child, this experience is really valuable as these are some of the most formative years of their learning.

Level

Look out for the levels that teachers are happy to teach. Some teachers may specialise in beginners or intermediate up to grade 5, whereas others are competent to teach up to grade 8. For more advanced students, look out for teachers who work regularly with professional pianists or at conservatoire level to be sure you have somebody to significantly advance your technique and sound.

Style

You may like to specialise in a particular style of playing, and while nearly all piano teachers can cover classical piano, not all teachers will feel comfortable covering other styles such as jazz. If learning to play a specific style is important to you - do check this with your teacher first.

Your goals:

When deciding on your teacher, it’s important to consider what your personal goals are. Some questions you may want to ask yourself include:

Would I like to work towards examinations?
Would I like to work towards a performance opportunity?
What styles of music or pieces do I want to master?
Will I dedicate time to practice, or play less regularly?

It is worth discussing these questions with your prospective teacher to be sure you have the same approach and understanding for your lessons. The teacher can focus on your personal goals and tailor the lessons to match your needs.

Arranging your first lesson

The easiest way to find a fantastic piano teacher near you is to enquiry with us at Encore Musicians. We have the biggest supply of musicians across the country and we are musicians ourselves, so we’re best placed to find a well suited teacher perfectly matched to your needs.