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#1274778 - 09/25/09 09:47 AM Teaching students to teach
Nannerl Mozart Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/19/08
Posts: 732
Loc: Australia, Melbourne
I'm not sure if this has been discussed before but my teacher is encouraging it. Has anyone had experiences of this before?

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#1274828 - 09/25/09 11:16 AM Re: Teaching students to teach [Re: Nannerl Mozart]
Full Member

Registered: 07/16/09
Posts: 89
Loc: New York, USA
I have some older students who I have suggested that they teach piano. Naturally I have chosen them carefully, and at the moment it is only a suggestion. They are a bit young yet - early teens. When they decide they want to try to take it on, I will begin to teach them to teach.

Right now, we're still in the planning stage.

Joan Edward

Private piano teacher, 20+ years

#1274947 - 09/25/09 02:43 PM Re: Teaching students to teach [Re: EDWARDIAN]
Sal_ Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/06/08
Posts: 355
Loc: Lacey, WA
If you have any desire to teach, it's well worth having a mentor.

#1275294 - 09/25/09 11:48 PM Re: Teaching students to teach [Re: EDWARDIAN]
Nannerl Mozart Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/19/08
Posts: 732
Loc: Australia, Melbourne
How is that working out? Do you find them students? Do you have them research on developmental psychology?

My teacher offered me to teach under his mentorship a few of my other friends recommended getting atleast an associate diploma and diploma in pedagogy to start.

#1275336 - 09/26/09 12:45 AM Re: Teaching students to teach [Re: Nannerl Mozart]
Roxy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/19/08
Posts: 478
Loc: Whittier, Calif
I think any student that wants to teach for the first time should only teach with their teacher there at first to help in their mentoring and also have pedagogic classes either with their teacher or another so that they have some game plan and just don't wing it. Just because you can play doesn't mean you can teach and explain the knowledge you have in a manner that someone else can learn. As far as psychology goes I don't see any need for that. If you don't want to teach, you shouldn't be. I don't think to be a good teacher you don't have to take psychology to understand the differences in people. Learning a students strengthes and weaknesses comes with experience the more you teach the more you can recognize which are a students strengths and which are their weaknesses.

#1275341 - 09/26/09 12:56 AM Re: Teaching students to teach [Re: Nannerl Mozart]
Erus Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/26/07
Posts: 386
Loc: Mexico
In my experience as a student who is now a teacher:

I took some mandatory courses at school: pedagogy, psychology and human development, applied teaching methodologies, and perhaps some other (it's late). Some of those courses were good, others not so much... All of them were rather basic (I was not an education major).

During my last years in school I tried to help some junior students who asked me for advice many times during the semester, and we had some mini lessons.

There was a course where I took a couple students for 1 semester and my teacher was supervising me. My teacher had invited me to watch her work with kids and grown up beginners before I took that course.

I've learned a lot at master classes (about what to do AND what NOT to do, it's amazing how many idiots are out there).

I think all that was helpful for me, but not enough. It's very different when you are completely responsible for your own students, it was not a smooth transition for me. I've tried to read as much as possible about piano technique and teaching techniques during these last 3 years, it has somehow helped, but in-depth and knowledge experience are not replaceable.

I think your teacher is right encouraging you. A lot of musicians teach, or at least try to at some point in their lives. It has always been like that, and will probably be for a long time.

I think it doesn't matter if you don't want to become a teacher any time soon, it's a good idea for you to learn about teaching. Psychology will always be of great help (not just for music), and getting back to technique basics and thinking carefully about how to start playing can do wonders for you.

"See one, do one, teach one"...

I think I have learned *A LOT* with my students. I have learned *A LOT* by trying to find better ways to help them. I started teaching almost three years ago.

I started working on Chopin studies (retaking the ones I played in school, and learning all the ones I didn't play) before going for the concerti. I think this would be more difficult had I not started teaching.

If you do want to teach: it's everything but easy!!! It is a huge responsibility and a lot of work. It certainly requires a lot more than just being able to play.

Read all you can, take all the advice you can, take all the courses you can. Be critic and analytical, take notes at master classes...

I guess it's normal if you don't feel ready to teach, I think most people aren't when they start doing it. You'll discover you know more than you think you do, but certainly not enough.

#1275346 - 09/26/09 01:13 AM Re: Teaching students to teach [Re: Erus]
Nannerl Mozart Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/19/08
Posts: 732
Loc: Australia, Melbourne
Thanks Erus, my teacher. Roxy why dont you think developmental psychology is important or irrelavent? Have you taken classes yourself? I'm just curious.

Erus, I agree that feeling of inadequacey is getting to me ... some of my friends say that once you get into it, you realise that you arent in the ICU or ER treating someone and killing someone. Sure you have a responsibiity on your hands but still, it's unlikely to 'break'anyone if you had training and guidance off a teacher.

DId you major in perfrmance? I am wondering if its worth doing a education degree or a performance degree followd by a graduate diploma in education. My friend is a composition major (education minor) though and she says that education is actually very interesting, sometimes more interesting than her major!

What are your experiences?

#1275377 - 09/26/09 03:45 AM Re: Teaching students to teach [Re: Nannerl Mozart]
AdlerAugen Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/30/07
Posts: 200
Loc: Hawaii
As a somewhat fresh piano teacher (taught for a little over a year) and performance major who has NOT YET taken a pedagogy course, I'll say the following:

An education degree probably isn't the best way to go if you only plan on teaching in a private studio, instead go for performance; however, if you plan on being a music director in a school (public or private), education major is the way to go. The requirements for an education major are extensive, it's basically like double majoring to do music education.

Also, a plan is a MUST for every lesson. Any aspect left out of lessons can be disastrous later on, so plan out technique, theory, aural skills, and repertoire. A lot of my students are transer, so I have to find out where they are at in their books from their previous teachers, where they should be at (if they're farther in the book than they can really handle), and formulate a plan to get everything to where it should be.

I have some students who have little knowledge of theory, but excellent technique. I have some who can play scales, some who can't. I'm also continuing to find better ways of starting non-transfer completely new students, and adjust my methods accordingly. Making flashcards to use in lessons with students was only step one. My psychology class I took last summer also helped out, there are some things you should pay attention to besides developmental psychology, such as learning and memory, and find ways of how they can connect with teaching.

Edited by AdlerAugen (09/26/09 03:46 AM)
-Piano Instructor since 2008-

#1275487 - 09/26/09 10:00 AM Re: Teaching students to teach [Re: AdlerAugen]
Erus Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/26/07
Posts: 386
Loc: Mexico
Yes, I majored in performance.

Education degrees are very different from music degrees (if you meant a "pure" education one).

Music education (at least here) is more about working with groups of kids for basic and general music (not "specialized" instrument playing). Piano pedagogy would be the middle point, I guess.

In the programme I attended, we had to take these courses I mentioned.

Is it a good idea to get the graduate education diploma? I am not familiar with that option.

#1275561 - 09/26/09 11:43 AM Re: Teaching students to teach [Re: Erus]
dumdumdiddle Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 1269
Loc: California
I started teaching at age 15 under the supervision of my piano teacher. She would meet with me and a couple of other teen girls for weekly piano pedagogy classes that she had created. Then she assigned us each 1 or 2 younger students to practice teach for several weeks. From there, I began to build my own studio and had 30 students by the time I was a high school senior.

I studied music in college but then switched to psychology; I'm not sure if those psych classes helped me as a teacher. If I had to do it over again I would take more early childhood classes. Those, and temperament analysis ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_Temperaments ) have really helped me to understand learning styles and personalities of children.

And of course, the best way to sharpen your teaching skills is to TEACH. I've learned more from trial and error than perhaps anything else.
Music School Owner
Early Childhood Music Teacher/Group Piano Teacher/Private Piano Teacher
Member of MTAC and Guild

#1275807 - 09/26/09 08:27 PM Re: Teaching students to teach [Re: dumdumdiddle]
Nannerl Mozart Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/19/08
Posts: 732
Loc: Australia, Melbourne
Thanks for your insights

AlderAugen, I do plan to major in performing, later getting a graduate diploma in teaching. Though I must say the teaching department looks appealing (espcaially since I've heard from people who graduated there).

Erus, a diploma of education is a graduate diploma which entitles one to teach in institutions such as high schools and primary schools. I guess all musicains end up teaching one way or another, I don't just want to teach, I would like to perform and accompany.

#1276209 - 09/27/09 04:21 PM Re: Teaching students to teach [Re: Nannerl Mozart]
Full Member

Registered: 07/16/09
Posts: 89
Loc: New York, USA
Rebekah -

I haven't started any of them teaching yet. They are too young. I just broached the subject to them & their parents. If in later years they want to teach - private lessons that is - I will mentor them and monitor their teaching with beginner students.

I think if anyone is serious about taking on students, they will naturally be nervous and have some trepidation taking on the responsibility . But you're right, you're not in the ICU or performing brain surgery. And you do learn a lot as you teach from your students if you really engage and listen to them. The wise teacher learns much from her pupils.

I feel you learn the most about teaching from teaching. When I took acting classes in college, yes I learned the basics. But it was in performance onstage that really taught me about acting. Similarly, I learned much more about teaching by teaching piano than from any education class I ever took in college.

Good luck!

Joan Edward

Private piano teacher, 20+ years

#1276220 - 09/27/09 05:01 PM Re: Teaching students to teach [Re: EDWARDIAN]
Erus Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/26/07
Posts: 386
Loc: Mexico
I don't know if that diploma would be useful for one on one piano teaching, it guess it would be more about working with groups of kids.

It's perfectly reasonable if you don't want to teach. I never thought I would like to teach, until my last years in school.

Lots of people "teach" just because they need the money, and I've met quite a few who do an awful job and don't care about it.

I am certainly not into teaching kids, that is way too much for me. So far I've worked mostly with teens and adults, who have some music background (most of my students are taking "piano for non pianists", and have been playing some other instruments for a while).

When I was younger and thought about teaching, I thought of teaching kids (the idea wasn't very attractive). Now that I have some adult students who are getting back into music, it's a completely different concept.

I am also teaching a course on basic acoustics, and might teach one on tonal harmony and form later.

There are many different kinds of teachers teaching many different music courses, I didn't think about that before.

If you are not into teaching right now, just try to learn a little about it, might come useful some day (and might confirm that you don't actually like teaching, saving you some headaches later).

#1276264 - 09/27/09 06:37 PM Re: Teaching students to teach [Re: Erus]
Jennifer Eklund Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/16/09
Posts: 162
Loc: SoCal
As far as I know, graduate degrees (credential programs) for music education involve two tracks: choral instruction or band instruction. Completing these programs allows you to teach K-12 music classes.

Most music education programs (and classes for that matter) will not help you all that much with becoming a fantastic private studio teacher.

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BA in Piano/MA Musicology

#1276271 - 09/27/09 06:53 PM Re: Teaching students to teach [Re: Jennifer Eklund]
currawong Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 6146
Loc: Down Under
Originally Posted By: Jennifer Eklund
As far as I know, graduate degrees (credential programs) for music education involve two tracks: choral instruction or band instruction. Completing these programs allows you to teach K-12 music classes.
Bear in mind that you are talking about courses in the US and Rebekah is in Australia. Course content may differ considerably, as does the school music education system.
Du holde Kunst...

#1276278 - 09/27/09 07:26 PM Re: Teaching students to teach [Re: currawong]
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
I think piano teaching is a huge encompassing ball of wax and that there are many areas of knowledge contributing to successful piano teaching.

Your own talents and abilities developed to a place where you have achieved some authenticity and experience with which to being to approach piano teaching. Your musical experiences from beginning to date contribute highly as do any performances you have presented, classes, workshops, seminars you have taken.

In addition the subjects of child development, elementary education in schools, how children learn, the brain, physiology of the body and hand, kinesthetic movement, psychology as it pertains to empowerment and education come into being.

You are going to be dealing with others emotions as well as their preferances and learning styles and habits. You are probably going to have to facilitate and negotiate through some trying difficulties at some time. I profitted from reading about difficult people and hidden agendas and moving toward agreement and some business management books and articles that helped a lot with resolving problems. Keep in mind that you can postpone talking about a problem until you are ready to talk about it. Make an appointment for a serious matter if you need to. Don't get put on the spot for an instant answer. Saying you need to consider this and think about it and will get back to them is perfectly acceptable. Being a good listener is helpful to you in finding out exactly what the conflict or concern might be about.

Teaching product is one thing. Teaching process is another. Both can be incorporated in piano teaching. Writing your teaching philosophies and what you value in music teaching is helpful in that it makes you aware of your innermost feelings about the work you will be doing as a self employed person and owner-manager of your studio where ever you are locating it - many of us teach in our homes.

Having a business plan and budget that builds on your financial needs to be self supporting. Having the studio policy for showing your commitment and responsibility to your clients while at the same time expecting that they will show commitment and responsibility to you and your studio. If you spell things out you are more likely to get what you want and need to live a lifestyle that you consider desirable to you.

I don't think it's as simple as just opening a method book and getting started in lessons - although that may be how it begins. The demands made on a piano teacher are many and we grow in the direction that we are called to go through our teaching.

Scheduling lots of office time during which you plan and invent your business is one thing; reading and researching on things of interest in teaching - pedagogy, biographies of composers, performers, pedagogues, music history, music theory; finding time for your own continued advancement is another. Meeting the public as they inquire with you about lessons, learning to communicate succinctly, speaking well of yourself both written and aurally. What do you want them to know about you?

Having confidence and enthusiasm for your career will take you a long way. Music teaching has evolved greatly in the years I have been teaching and I think it will continue to do so.

One needs to start somewhere and then follow the path.



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