How important is a good beginning piano teacher?

Adapted from "A Parent's Guide to Piano Lessons" by James W. Bastien, page 20

A first grade teacher has most of the responsibility for teaching your child to read. Much of what a child is able to accomplish in school is depended on how well he can read. Thus, the teaching of correct beginning reading habits is very important. Likewise, a "beginning" piano teacher must impart all basic music information to your child, such as beginning technical skills, notation, rhythm, and sight-reading habits. Much of what your child will be able to accomplish in music will be based on a solid foundation in beginning fundamentals. In most cases the beginning years are critical, because first impressions, good or bad, persist.
Don't be misled into judging teachers by the level of students they teach. For example, a university professor who teaches advanced college students is often thought to be better than a teacher who specializes in working with beginners. This definitely is not true. Teaching beginners is one of the most demanding tasks in the music profession. Good "beginning"teachers make an important musical contribution to the community, and they are deserving of more recognition than they often receive. 

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