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#1539193 - 10/20/10 01:48 AM Future Career Plans
Jared Hoeft Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/05/10
Posts: 174
Loc: Hutchinson, Minnesota, United ...
Hello. I'm a sophomore in college studying music composition, and my ultimate career goal is to make a living from writing music. I've already begun the process of self-promoting my music, and I have actually gotten some commissions already, which is incredibly promising! Still, I know I will need some steady source of income, and I really have a desire to pass my knowledge of the piano down to younger kids. The problem is, I wouldn't consider myself to be a fabulous teacher!

I'm planning on taking a pedagogy class in my senior year of college, but I was wondering if any of you had any suggestions for me? Are there any websites or programs I could look into for help with becoming a piano instructor? Thank you so much!

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#1539209 - 10/20/10 02:48 AM Re: Future Career Plans [Re: Jared Hoeft]
Avguste Antonov Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/13/10
Posts: 76
Loc: Grapevine,Texas, USA
Great question.

Besides knowledge, I think a teacher needs patience and ability to communicate with kids. Since you are referring to young kids, I think you should be able to keep them interested in their lessons, progressing, while also being demanding.
Besides the pedagogy class, I would also suggest you just start teaching using some of the method books such as Faber, Alfred.
Advertise for students in your area. The more you teach, the more success you will get.And the more you teach, the better you will get.

Now, onto the composition. I know many composers who make a living out of writing commissions, doing lectures at colleges and so forth. If you are really wanting to live from writing music, I would strongly suggest for you to focus on that.
And fully focusing on composition and commissions doesn't prevent you from teaching. Just understand and keep in mind what your main goal is.
_________________________
----
Avguste Antonov
http://www.avgusteantonov.com

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#1539219 - 10/20/10 03:20 AM Re: Future Career Plans [Re: Avguste Antonov]
Jared Hoeft Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/05/10
Posts: 174
Loc: Hutchinson, Minnesota, United ...
Hey, thanks for the thoughtful response. First of all, I'd like to say that I am very confident about my main goal - writing music. There is no doubt in my mind about that! This teaching thing really is a side job based on a related interest of mine.

In regards to that, thanks for the tips. I feel like I should have some sort of certification or just some guided practice before I go out into the field, advertise and start teaching; I don't want to start with no oversight whatsoever and inadvertently ruin music for some innocent kid.

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#1539223 - 10/20/10 03:42 AM Re: Future Career Plans [Re: Jared Hoeft]
Avguste Antonov Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/13/10
Posts: 76
Loc: Grapevine,Texas, USA
Talk to your piano pedagogy teacher and see if he/she would let you teach some of her students and/or supervise some of your teaching.
_________________________
----
Avguste Antonov
http://www.avgusteantonov.com

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#1539231 - 10/20/10 04:55 AM Re: Future Career Plans [Re: Jared Hoeft]
Nikolas Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5630
Loc: Europe
I'm speaking here as a composer:

You need to be very clear on the style you want to compose and be aware of any surprises to come! Industries do not comingle easily! So if you work on the telly, it's very hard to use that experience to enter the film or computer games industry. Same goes if you do computer games: I've done more than 15 computer games but no films and 1-2 ads alltogether. Experience simply doesn't count when it's on a different industry.

While what Avguste speaks the truth (and he always does and is a fabulous guy, btw :D), you should be very careful to what he said: He knows many composers who make a living by writing music AND lectures, etc... It's actually quite difficult to make a living solely out of writing music! Not impossible I assume, but I actually haven't met a single composer who is not also teaching in a uni, college or otherwise (even Birthwistle was in King's college in 2004 laugh not that he was ever present, but anyhow).

On teaching: If you don't love it, you won't really make it happen. I adore teaching, although I prefer a bit older students than toddlers or so, but I love teaching, I really do! It's worked quite well for me so far.

The one thing you don't mention is your skills as a pianist. So there's the question on how well you know piano, in order to promote yourself like this.
_________________________
http://www.musica-ferrum.com

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#1539442 - 10/20/10 01:39 PM Re: Future Career Plans [Re: Nikolas]
Jared Hoeft Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/05/10
Posts: 174
Loc: Hutchinson, Minnesota, United ...
Nikolas - I would say that I'm a fairly skilled pianist. Not the best by any means, but decent. I have a number of videos on my Youtube channel that feature me playing piano live, if you want to get an idea of exactly how good I am.

In regards to teaching, I love the idea of teaching. Since I have never actually taught anything formal or for an extended period of time, I couldn't honestly say that I love doing it, for I don't know yet. I don't feel that I am a great teacher right now because I don't think I have the best level of patience; I need to develop this, I know. But I do feel very passionately about passing on musical knowledge to younger people, and I love hearing what less-experienced musicians have to say.

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#1539788 - 10/20/10 10:47 PM Re: Future Career Plans [Re: Jared Hoeft]
Avguste Antonov Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/13/10
Posts: 76
Loc: Grapevine,Texas, USA
Nikolas is also correct (and thanks for the compliment Nikolas) and I didn't mention that.
It is true that I know many composers who earn a living as composers only, however at the same time, I know as many who teach at any level (private school, colleges, universities) and still composer a lot.
Two examples i can give you is Carter Pann (http://carterpann.com) and Michael Colgrass.
Carter Pann is a faculty at the University of Colorado-Boulder and still writing much and getting performed worldwide.

Michael Colgrass is a Pulitzer prize winner, a composer, a clinician and whatever else he is doing. And he is also very busy. I don't recall whether he is teaching somewhere or not.

And if you aim to success only as composer, make sure to promote yourself all over the place. Business cards, website, press kit, management and so forth
_________________________
----
Avguste Antonov
http://www.avgusteantonov.com

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#1540953 - 10/22/10 11:40 AM Re: Future Career Plans [Re: Avguste Antonov]
Jared Hoeft Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/05/10
Posts: 174
Loc: Hutchinson, Minnesota, United ...
I am promoting myself everywhere that I can think of, and constantly looking for new ways! Do you think it would be helpful for me to take some sort of business class before I finish college?

I have a close friend who loves music and is a singer but cannot play the piano. Perhaps I could try teaching her how to play. This could be good teaching experience, and it would be forgiving since I have such a close, personal relationship with her already.

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#1541246 - 10/22/10 06:29 PM Re: Future Career Plans [Re: Jared Hoeft]
danshure Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/29/10
Posts: 347
Loc: Massachusetts
I think it would be better to NOT first teach someone who you know so well. Someone you know might not give it that level of seriousness and accountability you really need to experience to begin teaching.
_________________________
Go here ---> Piano Teaching Blog

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#1541579 - 10/23/10 08:19 AM Re: Future Career Plans [Re: danshure]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12536
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: danshure
I think it would be better to NOT first teach someone who you know so well. Someone you know might not give it that level of seriousness and accountability you really need to experience to begin teaching.

+1

Also, this person you want to try teaching is an adult, and teaching adults is VERY different from teaching children. You will want to probably focus on one or the other to start with, then when you've got more of a system down, try the other.

I am also glad that you said you loved the idea of teaching piano. at first I was concerned that you were doing it only for practical reasons. When I started out in teaching, I had to wear many other hats as well. I accompanied at church services, weddings, and accompanied soloists at competitions. I also taught Kindermusik, voice classes, and even K-5 general music class. I didn't love it (although I loved the kids), and eventually was able to focus more on the things I loved to do as my studio became more established.

Try observing a teacher teaching a child; perhaps you can stay for a whole afternoon of lessons. Take lots of notes and see if this teacher would be willing to give you pointers. I find teachers love to help out someone who is interested in teaching.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher FT



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#1541693 - 10/23/10 12:17 PM Re: Future Career Plans [Re: Morodiene]
Jared Hoeft Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/05/10
Posts: 174
Loc: Hutchinson, Minnesota, United ...
Thanks! I can certainly try that. I'm pretty good friends with my old piano teacher from grade school, and she still has an active studio with about 30 students, most of them under the age of 10. She'd be more than happy to let me watch her give some lessons to her younger students!

I'm also pretty sure that I want to teach beginning adults, so I think teaching my friend would be fairly applicable. I know it wouldn't be as intense an experience as teaching a stranger, but I REALLY do not want to jump into teaching without some sort of first hand experience. I don't want to give a bad musical experience to some stranger.

Teaching would be very practical for me. But it is also an ideal of mine, like you noted. Education is so important, because today's young generation of learners are the musicians of tomorrow!

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