Playing any musical instrument can bring joy and confidence into a person's life. Whether it's guitar, keyboard, drums or even singing, performing can help us to express ourselves as well as learn a new skill.
Out of all musical instruments, the piano is perhaps the most common for students to take up. It's used in so many styles, from classical to jazz to pop, and is essential to bringing a song to life.
According to a study done by the Australian Music Association, around 30% of all musicians in Australia play the upright piano.
Students often start their tuition at a young age, and the majority (almost 70%) start learning to play when they are still children, before they get to secondary school.
There are so many options when it comes to taking piano or keyboard lessons, especially in a city like Melbourne, which has a great music scene. The main ways to learn are:
- As part of music lessons in high school and secondary school years
- At a music school or with a private teacher
- At home with parents or self-teaching
But before we look at where you can find a great piano teacher in Melbourne or Vic, let's look at some of the many reasons a beginner student might want to start piano lessons.
Piano lessons for beginners to advanced can change your life
It's true that we probably won't all reach an advanced level with our piano or keyboard playing, but no matter what level you're at, performing music can truly be a life-changing experience for students of all ages.
Of course, lessons with a piano teacher will help students to improve their understanding of the instrument through learning about theory, practicing and performing.
This quote from Aristotle sums up the importance of consistent practice:
We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.
So, to become truly excellent, we must practice constantly over the years, no matter our innate musical talent.
Music tuition can also have an incredible effect on the mental and brain health of children and adult students alike.
For example, a 2003 study from Harvard University researchers study showed that there is actually a difference in brain structure between people who have been playing music or singing for many years of their lives and people who have never played.
We have also seen that playing music positively impacts certain functions of the brain, like memory retention and problem-solving, which especially help at more advanced ages.
These effects last longer and are more effective the younger we start learning, which is another good reason to get children performing at early ages.
And the mental health benefits? Firstly, putting our minds to something and finding we are improving lesson by lesson is a great way to build confidence and self-esteem, especially as a beginner.
Playing music is also a very free experience, where we can express anything we want as we play, get in contact with our emotions, and just have a fun time.
Use your piano lessons to prepare for exams
While piano lessons should be a fun experience, they can also help us to achieve certain goals.
Many students who have been playing piano for years get to a point where they want something to show for all of their hard work.
That's where AMEB, Trinity and ABRSM come in. These are all different official bodies that assess and grade music performance in anything from guitar to singing to cello.
For students in Melbourne (or anywhere in Australia), you're most likely to take Australian Music Examinations Board examinations at AMEB Vic.
These examinations are very thorough and cover everything from classical music theory and how well you can read music to posture and performance skills.
Lessons with a music school or private tutors can be an invaluable resource, as they can give you important feedback on your performance, and help you learn the AMEB syllabus.
Piano lessons near me: All of the best teachers in Melbourne and how to find them
As we mentioned before, there are so many ways a student can learn the piano, the main two being lessons through a music school, or with private tutors.
Both have their advantages and disadvantages. For example, in a music school, you're basically guaranteed to have teachers that are qualified and professional.
They'll also have a nice studio built for teaching where you can practice with your tutor.
Finally, by going to a school, you'll become part of a community of people who have known and played with each other for years.
They may offer the possibility to participate in a fun performance or group event. This could be especially welcome for people who have recently moved to Melbourne.
On the other hand, lessons are likely to be a little more expensive than with a private teacher. Music schools have lots of overheads, and this is usually reflected in the price of lessons.
With private tutors, you have not only the benefit of lower prices but also the convenience of being free to schedule lessons more easily, based on when they are available to teach.
Finally, if you have a piano in your house, private teachers may be happy to travel to you, saving you the trouble of running all over Melbourne.
Before beginning your online search, think carefully about any criteria you might have. You should consider aspects such as:
- Your budget and the price of lessons.
- The methodology and style of teaching.
- The styles that you're interested in learning about.
- If they cater to your level, especially for more advanced students (almost all teachers and schools offer a beginner class.
- The years of teaching experience and expertise of the tutors.
Some popular Melbourne studios
All of the schools listed offer both in-person and online lessons, from beginner to advanced levels.
- Melbourne School of Music: In two convenient locations in the east (Mitcham) and north (Parkville) of Melbourne, this school offers a structured program that includes learning theory and how to read music. This is a good choice for students who are serious about improving their skills in a range of styles.
- Richmond Music Academy: This studio is a little more relaxed, and the teachers want to bring music into the student's life in a more meaningful way. There are lots of social events like concerts and there is a great sense of community. It's located just east of the Melbourne CBD, in Burnley St, Richmond.
- Josh Cohen School of Music: Another studio that is focused on building a community, this boutique school specialises in piano, guitar and singing. There are courses in jazz, classical and other styles and all teachers have minimum tertiary qualifications. There are two locations, in the east in Hawthorn and south-east in Malvern.
- Melbourne Piano School: This large school has 25 teachers on staff, who teach students across Melbourne in the own home or studio. This means that you can find a studio in many parts of the city, mostly in the north (Brunswick, Mernda, Fitzroy North etc.) and the south-east (Brighton, Elwood, Caulfield South etc.).
Contact a private tutor for your lessons
If you prefer to learn with a private tutor, then there are a couple of different ways to find the best tutor for you online.
Don't forget to think about exactly what you want and need from your lessons, so you can find a tutor to help reach your goals.
For example, if you're very interested in jazz, it probably won't be worth it to contact a tutor who specialises in classical music.
Or if you're a student who lives in the far north of the city, there's probably not much point in organising a lesson with a tutor in Richmond.
There are so many that a simple Google search can be overwhelming, so here are some trustworthy, free websites that can help any student find the right tutor for them:
- Melbourne Music Teachers: This online site is part of a Global Music Teachers network that aims to promote teachers with qualifications and experience. Tutors can upload any information they think is important about their styles and qualifications as well as a bio.
- Superprof: Another site where tutors from across Australia, Vic and Melbourne can upload their profile. They must include information like their experience, methodology and qualifications. You also have the opportunity to read reviews from past students. Most Superprof tutors also offer the first lesson free!