“Life is like a piano. What you get out of it depends on how you play it.” - Tom Lehrer

Playing piano is a wonderfully stimulating and relaxing activity. But before you can start busting out your favourite classical piano tunes, first you'll need a few lessons!

Read on for our beginner's guide to seeking out private piano lessons.

How much are Piano Lessons?

You can take lessons at your local conservatorium or music school, but many new beginners are seeking out private piano lessons at their homes. Private in-home lessons are a great alternative; you will enjoy the benefits of a private piano tutor who can tailor your weekly lessons with personalised advice. 

How much should I pay for piano lessons?
Many different factors influence the price of piano lessons. (Source: PublicDomainPictures)

Before you book in for your beginner piano lessons, make sure you do thorough research into the different teachers and organisations near you. This will help give an idea of how much you can expect to pay for private piano tutorials in your area.

Research nearby piano tutors online, at local noticeboards or through word of mouth.

But let's break down the pricing of piano lessons - what exactly are you paying for?

Private piano tutors are usually self-employed. This means they'll need to charge a minimum amount to make a liveable wage and pay for their outgoings.

The total cost of your piano lessons will also include the time spent organising and planning your tutorial.

Piano teachers are highly-skilled professionals, and many have been playing since they were very young. By the time they take on their first students, many have been playing for 10 years or more. When you employ a piano tutor, you're paying for their extensive skill set, knowledge and experience. More experienced tutors will command higher rates than younger teachers.

If you want tutoring from the comfort of your own home, you may also be charged a travel fee. An hour of piano tuition may cost anywhere between $40 and $100.

There are a few ways to reduce the costs of piano tuition: employing a younger teacher with less experience (although lesson quality may vary!), taking Skype lessons to avoid travel fees, or inquiring if a teacher offers group classes.

How do I decide on a private Piano Tutor?

Before starting your search for the perfect private tutor, keep in mind that there are lots of different tutors out there and that different teaching styles work for different students.

How to decide on a private piano tutor
There is a private piano tutor out there who will suit your needs! (Source: allegralchaple0)

Some tutors have a strong focus on music theory, whilst others will specialise in jazz and improvisation.

So how can you choose the right piano tutor for you?

You can begin by asking yourself a few important questions about your musical goals. Why do you want to learn piano? Perhaps you want to play along as you sing, perform at open mics, join in at jams, or maybe you dream of becoming a music teacher one day yourself! Once you've established your musical goals, you should seek out a tutor who aligns with your expectations.

Three essential questions to ask yourself before you begin:

  • What genres of music do I want to play?
  • What drew me to learning the piano?
  • What are my musical goals?

Once you know the answers to these questions, you can get in contact with a few different piano tutors and outline your goals and expectations, and see who will be the best fit.

Many tutors on Superprof offer a free consultation - use this time wisely work out if you two click and discuss your specific desires as a student. Then you can hire them for a month, ten lessons, a school term or even a year!

What can you expect from your first Piano Tutorial?

Whether you're taking your first private lessons in your home, online or at a piano school or conservatorium, you can expect a structured and exciting lesson. Your first lesson might include the anatomy of your instrument (the piano!), an overview of how to read piano music, basic finger technique and perhaps even playing scales or short, simple song!

What will my first piano tutorial be like?
In your first piano tutorial, you'll get familiar with the anatomy of the piano. (Source: nightowl)

You can expect to learn these basics no matter what kind of instrument you're learning - ie. violin lessons, drum lessons, guitar lessons, singing lessons, saxophone lessons, flute lessons cello lessons...

Once you've decided on your new piano tutor, you can organise your first lesson together. Find a regular time that works for both of you, whether that's weekly, fortnightly or monthly. Sometimes the first lesson is a little longer than usual to really dive into the piano together!

In your first lesson, you're not only familiarising yourself with the piano but also getting to know your tutor and their teaching style. You should discuss what kind of music you both love to play, and the tutor's music experience. Your piano tutor may play other instruments, such as electric guitar, saxophone, bass, harmonica, accordion, flute, etc, or they may offer voice lessons alongside piano playing lessons.

In this first lesson, your tutor will determine your level so they know where to start. This may mean a few short quizzes or sightreading tests. Good piano teachers will also ask about your work/life balance and help you decide when to fit in your practice regimen.

In this first lesson, you should also outline your expectations and musical goals. Each new musician has their own, personal reasons for learning to play - this could be anything from playing for fun, joining a band, surprising a friend at a big event or harbouring big dreams to become a famous classical pianist! Letting your tutor know your hopes and dreams help them adapt the lessons to your needs.

To help motivate you, your piano teacher will take your goals into account and help you to establish a schedule to achieve them.

You'll finish off with some piano exercises to continue at home - make sure you work on these a few times before your next tutorial! With piano lessons, the old saying "you get out what you put in" rings true.

How can I find the right Piano Teacher Near Me?

There are lots of methods for finding piano tutors, both online and offline.

Where to look for piano teachers
Perhaps someone in your network is a piano teacher - ask around and see! (Source: NeiFo)

There is always the tried-and-true method of looking at classifieds in the paper or noticeboards at your local newsagent or library.

Another way might be to put up a notice seeking a piano tutor. When you write your own notice, be specific about what you want to learn (music theory, music history, how to improvise, how to write your own songs...) so you attract the right teacher. The best place to put up a notice like this is at your local music school or conservatorium.

Word of mouth is invaluable in finding the right piano tutor. It's highly likely that someone within your friends and family will know just the right person for the job. 

Social networks have made finding a private piano tutor easier than ever. You could put a post on your personal Facebook or Instagram page, or put up a post in a local Facebook group.

Even easier are dedicated tutoring platforms such as Superprof, whose sole purpose is to help connects students with their ideal tutor. Superprof makes it easy to browse hundreds of tutors in your area. Each tutor's profile also has their experience and qualifications prominently displayed so you can quickly decide if they seem like the right fit.

To make the process run smoothly, have a list of questions ready before you contact a private tutor. You may like to ask which genres of music they teach, their rates, or inquire into their qualifications.

Make sure you're clear about what you want to focus on in your lessons - be in jazz piano chords, ear training, improvisation, sightreading or learning to read music. Letting your tutor know all this information at the beginning will ensure they can tailor your course so you get the most out of lessons.

It's also good to be upfront about what kind of instrument you have at home to practice on - this could be anything from a small keyboard to an upright piano or even a grand piano! If you only have a tiny Casio keyboard, you may need to upgrade after only a couple of lessons!

Some teachers also specialise in courses for children, synthesizers, chords theory or teaching music production programs such as Ableton.

No matter your piano level - beginner, intermediate or advance - finding the right tutor for you has never been easier.

So, you want to improve your rhythm or learn good fingering technique? Or perhaps you dream of one day becoming a famous composer! If you plan on becoming the next Bach, Beethoven, Mozart or Schubert, visit Superprof and start honing your piano skills today!

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Erin

Erin is an Australian musician, writer and francophile living in France.