Updated: Feb 10
Finding a good piano teacher in London is always a challenge. Particularly when we are beginners and we don’t know what to look for.
Should we ask for a CV? Should we ask for references? Should we ask our friends?...
After years of trying to find out the best way to go about it, I finally came up with a guide on how to identify for sure the best professionals in London.
Juan Rezzuto, WKMT Founder and Director
1. Your future piano teacher in London needs to be a good and intelligent artist. Why?
I have heard many times that is not necessary to be a superlative concert pianist to be a great teacher. True, but…
If you find a super talented pianist who teaches, then you are safe for sure.
Any well-rounded artist will know the musical matter in the way needed to deliver a top-quality piano lesson.
Who can be better to teach you than someone who knows music to perfection?
So, for those ones who say: “someone doesn’t need to be a great pianist to teach”; ask yourselves? Have you ever taken a lesson with a real concert pianist - and I mean a real one, not just someone who claims to be Martha Argerich :)!?
The same intelligence artists apply to their performances can be applied to deliver wonderful teaching.
Because a teacher needs to be very smart to be able to position himself or herself in the place of the student.
This means to try and think of the way the student thinks.
It is only in this way, the teacher will be able to deliver the exact information the student is missing.
Good teaching is about dealing with complex intellectual processes...
Someone who has mastered the mysteries of piano performance is prone to be more successful in understanding the learning process than someone who is still in the process of understanding music himself or herself…
2. He needs to be established, or at least his or her studio needs to be established.
Money is always the enemy of honesty.
I wouldn’t suggest going to someone who is not doing very well. Why?
Because that professional would do whatever he or she considers necessary to keep you as his or her student.
But, isn’t that great?!
Not really, because the teacher won’t be able to tell you the truth.
You need to be taught by someone who is enjoying teaching you in a very honest way.
Someone who can live without you but rather keeps you.
That’s the only way the teacher will be able to guide you properly without having to wrap up everything too nicely or to skip some indications entirely just to avoid upsetting you...
3. He needs to have time to practise
If you find out your teacher is delivering 10 hours of teaching every day, then you are in trouble. No artist can keep up with that sort of schedule.
Teaching is a very energy-consuming activity.
Your teacher needs to be a well-balanced individual who has a musical discipline and therefore can teach you how to develop one.
It is not advisable to deliver more than 25 hours of solid teaching a week.
Basically because after that, it stops being solid teaching...
4. He needs to be reliable
Stay away from too eccentric personalities.
Musicians can end being quite frustrated individuals when they haven't achieved what they aimed to.
You need to make sure you don’t get swallowed by your teacher's personal and professional problems.
These sort of characters will not be able to provide you with the sort of continuity you need to perpetuate your piano goals.
Everyone looks great on papers.
For that reason, you need to check if your teacher has any professional recordings published on the internet -Youtube, Vimeo...
It doesn’t matter if they are ancient, but at least you should find something there.
A good pianist will always count with a comprehensive collection of professional video recordings online to promote his or her artistry.
6. Strong personality
The most famous piano teaching tradition comes from Europe.
The relationship between student and teacher is almost spiritual.
You need to be musically lead by someone who knows what he or she is doing, who is proud of it and who can save your time and money by making assertive non-argumentative decisions.
7. Why choosing a piano studio
Studying piano in a proper piano studio, directed by a professional pianist, is by far the best option you can go for.
Because London is a very dynamic city.
This means that teachers come and go. The issue: good and reliable professionals who stay tend to be terribly expensive.
When you take piano lessons in a studio, you can arrange your lessons according to your schedule, your lessons are always delivered regardless of your teacher's personal circumstances and, most importantly you receive the quality teaching you need without having to pay extorsive hourly rates.
WKMT is one of London's best-established practice. It is directed by Juan Rezzuto (concert pianist) and counts with a strong team of highly qualified and experienced full-time piano teachers. You can research this practice following the link below.
8. He or she needs to be able to produce a full musical immersion
It is quite common to see piano teachers advocating themselves purely and solely to delivering their piano lessons.
This can seem to be the right thing to do, but, be careful, having a teacher who disconnects entirely from the outer musical world can end being demotivating for you as a piano student.
Music has a lot to offer beyond its purely academic stimulation.
Music can and should be experienced in many different ways.
Learning to play an instrument is just one of this discipline's facades.
Moreover, to learn how to play an instrument correctly we need to experiment with all the dimensions of music.
Music is a language and as such is used when we perform an instrument, but it is also used when we hear someone else's performance.
It is used when we discuss music; when we fantasise about how we would perform a concert; when we hold an argument about someone else's performance and when we criticise ours on performance.
All piano students need to be granted access to environments and situations where they can explore the full scope of graces music has to offer.
Analysing if your a piano teacher is capable of providing these possibilities to his or her students is a fundamental aspect everyone should take into account when choosing their piano maestro.