Ask The Insider, Music Advice Coluwi, Music Blog

Matrix Center for Music, Youth & Community Events

& Melody4Community & Craig LiaBraaten Present:

I'm 12 years old and I already play piano better than my teacher. What should I do? Sincerely, T.N.

It doesn't matter if we're talking about your piano teacher, your voice teacher, or any other music teacher. You need to find a good teacher. And don't delay. My first teacher taught me bad habits and wrong information and they had no clue about proper technique. I learned much too late that they were unqualified. It's very hard to unlearn bad habits. It's much better to have a teacher tell you the truth (the facts) when you're young. Then you get it right the first time. Remember that teachers only can teach you what they know. It's sad that anybody can hang out a shingle and teach private lessons but few are really qualified. Find someone with a legitimate music performance degree from a legitimate, respected music school. Have they won performance awards in their field? Graduated with honors? Are they a Recording Artist? Do they still perform as a soloist regularly in public in the field in which they teach? Above all, do they love to teach?

If you can answer yes to these questions, then you won't learn bad habits. Bad habits, when left unchecked and unrecognized over time, can lead musicians to serious physical problems, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, and can lead vocalists to serious physical problems, too, such as nodes on the vocal chords. Teachers without the proper background are simply unable ~ because of their lack of knowledge and experience ~ to properly identify, address, and correct these technical problems that can lead eventually to the young artist losing the ability to perform. Carpal tunnel syndrome and vocal nodes usually require surgery to attempt to correct the issue. And sad to say, the young performer or vocalist is usually never the same after the surgery. All because their teacher failed to notice and properly coach the young artist to protect them from injury. Call it what it is: this is a complete travesty, an utter disgrace to the music teaching profession.

Your teacher MUST be a performer ~ don't take lessons from a piano teacher who can't or doesn't play in public (past their prime?), or voice lessons from someone with a speaking difficulty (ie., lisp). The key to learning is PROPER TECHNIQUE. Correct technique unlocks the instrument, and a teacher who can't play, can't show you how. They are simply out of touch.

MY MOTTO for 26 years has always been ~ THE BEST TEACHER IS A GOOD EXAMPLE! Go find a GOOD EXAMPLE! If you need assistance in doing so, please write to me, and I will try to help.

The Insider


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