Mom or Teacher?
There is little as sacred as the parent/child relationship. We all have unique attachments to our parents that change and grow during our lives. When parents try to teach their own children how to play piano, some children cannot separate the parent identity from the teacher identity. I have seen many relationships strained over parents trying to act as teacher with children who just want to see them as mom or dad. Unless your child can clearly separate the two roles, you should find a teacher qualified in piano instruction.
Knowing How to Teach
Learning to play piano entails much more than memorizing notes, scales and songs or watching someone else play. Children who embark on piano lessons deserve the instruction of a music educator who can not only play the piano, but who also has a background in teaching. Quality music educators can enhance a child’s piano practice through music theory, music history, and a solid background in educational practices. Just as I wouldn’t expect an engineer to be able to teach 5th grade math (even though he certainly knows the math), I wouldn’t expect someone who can play piano to be able to teach it.
Making Lessons a Priority
Another factor to consider before taking on your child’s instruction in pianos is whether or not your family can commit to the time involved in piano lessons. Will family vacations, obligations around the house, or the busy day-to-day routines of family life take precedence over lessons? If the answer is yes, I encourage you to go with a piano teacher. Sometimes the knowledge that you paid for a service helps maintain a firm commitment to your child’s piano education.
Teaching your own child can be rewarding. However, I have seen many parents and children struggle in this relationship and so I encourage parents to seek out piano educators for their children.