What Are the Requirements of a Piano Teacher?

Piano teachers often work with children.
Piano teachers often work with children. (Image: Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images)

Piano teachers provide instruction on piano-playing technique, fluent playing and music theory. Exceptional piano teachers can ignite in their students a passion for music that can last a lifetime. Whether teaching privately, in music schools or in academic institutions, piano teachers must meet several basic requirements, the most important being the ability to play piano proficiently.


According to Everything Piano, piano teachers should have college or conservatory training in music. They should have knowledge of various styles of music and piano playing, including jazz, classical and popular music. Additionally, piano teachers should be extremely well-versed in music theory with a keen understanding of both melodic and harmonic structure.


Coupled with a strong pedagogical background, piano teachers should have considerable experience performing. This experience can include playing with a band, concert recitals or arranging music. A strong performance history can also aid teachers in developing a style that is practical for students with varied experience levels. Another benefit is that musicality can be taught, and not just technique. Musicality refers to the ability to play music expressively and interpretively.

Organizational Skills

Just as teachers in academic settings prepare lesson plans, piano teachers must do the same. In fact, some teachers may have multiple students with different skill levels, and plans will need to be developed accordingly. Also, proper assessment of student progress should involve note taking and keeping separate files for each student. These files should include each student's goals, and the teacher should be transparent in monitoring how close those goals are to being met.


Because of the varying levels of students, piano teachers must demonstrate great patience. Beginners may struggle to play a scale, while more experienced pianists may struggle to play a succession of chords. It is important that teachers keep their composure and not become frustrated. Teachers may have to alter or extend lesson plans to adapt to students who are moving at a slower pace.

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