How to Find a Piano Teacher

Charmaine Li  /  Musicianship  /  UPDATED Jan 16, 2023

So you’ve purchased your first piano, bought your first few books, and have some songs in mind. The next step is to find a piano teacher! That trusted mentor to guide you on your new musical journey!

Finding your first piano teacher can be challenging. Teachers, like people, come in all stripes. Fees can vary widely between teachers too.

This article will give you a head start on finding the right piano teacher, whether that is a real human you see once a week or an online program you can log on to any time!

What to Look For in a Piano Teacher

The first step in finding the perfect piano teacher near you is to define your expectations.

Piano teaching styles can differ. An undergraduate music student will have very different needs from a beginner who just wants to have fun playing songs.

So before you begin looking for teachers, make decisions about:

  • Your budget. How much are you willing to pay for lessons? Fees for in-person instructors can range from $20/lesson to $60 and above depending on teacher expertise, but online lessons like Pianote can begin at $3.79 a week.
  • Logistics. How far are you willing to go for your lesson? Some teachers will come to you, but this may cost more. Online teachers and programs can also eliminate commutes.
  • Musical style. Classical music teachers may approach the piano very differently from pop or jazz teachers.
  • Teaching style. Serious students may want a teacher who pushes them and holds them accountable. But casual learners may prefer a more relaxed teacher who will find songs to suit their interests.

No matter what you need, it’s incredibly important to find a piano teacher who is encouraging.

Your piano teacher can demand lots of homework, but if they have an awesome sense of humor, is encouraging, and introduces you to pieces that fit your skills and tastes, you will still have a good time.

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Where to Find a Piano Teacher

Many people still find piano teachers by word of mouth, so ask your friends, other parents at your child’s school, local Facebook groups, or your Church’s musical department.

You can also find a piano teacher at music institutions and musical retailers. These teachers may be more expensive if the institution takes a cut of the fees, but you’ll be sure to get a teacher who has met the institution’s standard of qualifications.

Finally, you can find piano lessons online. We’ll talk more about the pros and cons of online piano lessons in a bit.

Man playing the piano

How Much Do Piano Teachers Cost?

Music teacher fees can vary depending on the teacher’s experience, skill level, and student expectations.

On the low end, teachers with intermediate piano experience who teach casual learners can charge as low as $20 per lesson.

Meanwhile, teachers with advanced degrees who mentor soon-to-be professionals can charge more than $60 per lesson.

For context, here are a few examples of lesson costs:

(I suspect these numbers may be “per lesson” rather than “per hour,” so for a more accurate overview, check your local job board.)

Online piano lessons can be substantially cheaper!

As you can see, piano lessons can add up to be quite expensive. Weekly $20 lessons means spending around $80 a month and $1040 a year. With $60 lessons, this amounts to $240 a month and more than $3000 a year.

Luckily, there is a much cheaper option available today thanks to the Internet: online piano lessons!

Online piano lessons like Pianote cost a fraction of in-person teachers and prices are competitive. For just $3.79 a week, you can take piano lessons at your own pace without worrying about commuting or scheduling.

In other words, a month of Pianote lessons can cost less than a single in-person lesson. But is there a catch? Since they’re so much more expensive, are in-person lessons better?

Let’s take a deeper look.

Woman taking online piano lessons

Online Piano Lessons vs. In-Person Teachers: Pros and Cons

While it’s difficult to replicate the individualized, tailored approach of an in-person mentor, online lessons do have plenty of advantages, such as:

  • Ability to access piano lessons whenever, wherever you want
  • Progressing at your own pace
  • Substantially lower costs in comparison to hiring an in-person teacher
  • Access to fun software, discussion forums, song libraries, and other resources, depending on what platform you use

Of course, there are distinct advantages to having a human teacher sit next to you. Humans can point out mistakes and bad habits (like bad posture) as soon as they spot them.

We also each have our own different learning styles, and a good human teacher will pick up on this to tailor their teaching style to you.

But if you are a casual learner or if you’re saving up for formal lessons but just want to get started ASAP, online piano lessons have a lot to offer.

Combine In-Person and Virtual Piano Lessons!

One way to get the best out of both worlds is to simply use both virtual lessons and an in-person teacher!

If you have the budget, you can visit a human teacher once a week (or once a month, to save money) and get personalized mentoring from someone who can show you core concepts.

Then, at home, you can practice those core concepts with online resources.

This not only gives you the best of both worlds, it makes you more involved and intentional in your practice sessions.

Remember: as a Pianote member you can ask for personalized feedback from real teachers in our Student Reviews section!

Finally, there’s no harm if you discover at some point that you and your teacher don’t fit. It happens! Just be honest and take another look at where your needs are. Redefine your expectations and explore other ways to learn. You could try again to find a piano teacher, or decide to give online lessons a go.

Learning piano is a journey, and with the right teacher to guide you, it will be a fun, fulfilling, and successful one where you get to play pieces you enjoy and feel accomplished.

Charmaine Li is a Vancouver writer who has played piano for over 20 years. She holds an Associate diploma (ARCT) from the Royal Conservatory of Music and loves writing about the ways in which music—and music learning—affects the human experience. Charmaine manages The Note. Learn more about Charmaine here.

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