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February 28, 2024

The Number One Quality We Look for in Teachers

Since 2007, we’ve interviewed hundreds of would-be teachers, but hired only a small percentage of them.


To us, one quality in a music teacher really stands out. It isn’t musical expertise, awards, or a prestigious degree. The quality that really matters in a music teacher? Emotional intelligence, or EQ.

In a nutshell, EQ refers to people skills, or how well you “play with others.”

Why Emotional Intelligence is Crucial for Private Music Teachers

Because a private music teacher works with not just students but their families– in their home environment– the ability to connect is incredibly important. This is especially true in long-term relationship building.

Not only do they deliver the musical goods, private music teachers:

  • Can adapt lessons to students’ emotions
  • Build strong relationships through empathy and active listening
  • Attune to the unique dynamics of different family environments

If a student is acting out, a great music teacher can identify the root cause. Is the student tired? Experiencing trouble at school? Needing physical activity? As any M.D. will tell you, once the cause is correctly identified, the symptoms are infinitely more treatable.

Does Gender Matter When it Comes to Emotional Intelligence?

Studies have shown that certain facets of emotional intelligence, i.e. emotional regulation and empathy, may correspond more strongly among gender lines. But does gender, which is largely socialized, really matter when it comes to EQ?

EQ isn’t a fixed trait, like eye color. Rather it can grow and change over time, regardless of gender identification. If an individual does or does not express an EQ trait associated with their gender, that can change with growth, and awareness.

At Piano Power, we believe in the individual strengths of each of our teachers.

They shine in their empathy, perceptivity, and ability to create positive learning experiences. It’s why we hired them!

And while EQ is extremely important in teacher-student relationships, chemistry boils down to the student, the teacher, and the magic that happens–or doesn’t– when they work together.

Much like dating, you just never know who’s going to click. And sometimes, your match surprises you.

The two objectives we keep in mind when hiring teachers

First, our teachers should feel at home in the Piano Power culture of feedback, friendship, and collaboration.

Second, they should have the skills to help students achieve our overarching goal: a lifelong love of music.

Want to read more about the teachers who made the cut? Check out our roster of great instructors!

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