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#1707811 - 07/05/11 01:56 PM Private male piano teachers?
Vasilievich Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/04/10
Posts: 90
I will graduate with a master of arts in music in a few years, and the idea of private teaching is becoming increasingly appealing. This presents some confusion for me though. My own private teacher was a woman, and when I began working with her again in preparation to apply for a master's program, she cautioned me that the only possible route for me was to get a job teaching at an institution. She had told me that it's not acceptable for men to teach privately out of their homes, as she does. Is this true, and why?

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#1707819 - 07/05/11 02:11 PM Re: Private male piano teachers? [Re: Vasilievich]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7393
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Because you'll be a threat to all those "Aunt Sallies" who've had a few years of lessons and are now "teaching" for some extra cash.

Welcome to the forum - glad to have you here.

Seriously, I teach out of my home simply because the added cost of renting retail space would price lessons out of the range of 95% of all students.

There are a number of issues we men have to face, and one of the most annoying is the constant threat of "molestation" charges. I video my lessons and send the video home with the student.

If I were just starting out, I'd look for a small house, located on a main thoroughfare, which I could rent with option to buy and convert it to a studio. You might give this some thought. As time passes, you can complete ownership and then have a nice piece of real estate to convert into retirement funds.
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#1707833 - 07/05/11 02:43 PM Re: Private male piano teachers? [Re: Vasilievich]
ando Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/10
Posts: 3612
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
That certainly hasn't been my experience. I haven't had anyone distrust me - not that I would blame them if they did. I show them my "Working with Children" certification (that's an Aussie thing) and they sit in on the lessons for the first few times at least. I really can't say being a male teacher has affected me in the slightest. Probably depends where you are though. I don't think she has any business saying it is "unacceptable" for a male teacher to have his own studio. It may be unacceptable to some potential clients, but it's not morally wrong to want to teach in your own home because you are male. The implication that males are untrustworthy but all females are safe is quite offensive, in fact.

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#1707840 - 07/05/11 02:58 PM Re: Private male piano teachers? [Re: John v.d.Brook]
asiantraveller101 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/31/08
Posts: 158
Loc: ME
Originally Posted By: Vasilievich
She had told me that it's not acceptable for men to teach privately out of their homes, as she does. Is this true, and why?

Such a nonsensical statement! I am teaching in both situations, at an institution and privately. You can teach in whatever situation you choose to.

Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook

There are a number of issues we men have to face, and one of the most annoying is the constant threat of "molestation" charges.


I am extremely cautious when it comes to that. As teachers, we are bound to touch our students, either on their hands/arms to correct their positions and technique, and also shoulders to make sure they are relaxed. Please do NOT teach behind closed door. Always leave the door open; or at least have a door with glass window. Always have an open door policy where the parents can come in whenever they like to sit. This is serious matter and you need to take the necessary precautions to protect yourself.
Personally I do not like teaching out from home. I prefer another location, where the setting is little more "professional". There are some music shops that will allow you to rent by hours, or by days. Look into that eventually. You may want to start from home to save money and migrate out later. I find parents and students are too relaxed when they come to my home. I have had parents laying/sleeping on my couch, turning on my tv set and start watching without my consent, siblings ruining my furniture (a prized Wassily chair! Ouch!), broken stuff, food on the carpet and everywhere, etc. etc...
So, good luck in your studies and teaching.
_________________________
JN

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#1707846 - 07/05/11 03:08 PM Re: Private male piano teachers? [Re: John v.d.Brook]
lechuan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/17/10
Posts: 180
Thank you for raising this question. I have been wondering the same thing.

Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook

There are a number of issues we men have to face, and one of the most annoying is the constant threat of "molestation" charges. I video my lessons and send the video home with the student.


John, How do you usually explain the concept of video-taped lessons to parents? Is this for all young children? Or all female students (regardless of age)?

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#1707848 - 07/05/11 03:09 PM Re: Private male piano teachers? [Re: Vasilievich]
Vasilievich Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/04/10
Posts: 90
Thanks for the feedback! I assumed what she was referring to was in some way related to child molestation, but I couldn't (and still can't) believe it. I don't know why men are seen as inherently less trustworthy. In any case, it doesn't seem like it's as cold-cut as I was lead to believe. The recording is a great idea-I tape myself regularly to scrutinize my own practice, so not only would it keep your "bases" covered for students, but it would be beneficial for them as well.

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#1707863 - 07/05/11 03:46 PM Re: Private male piano teachers? [Re: John v.d.Brook]
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4812
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
Because you'll be a threat to all those "Aunt Sallies" who've had a few years of lessons and are now "teaching" for some extra cash.

You made me smile. smile

There are some "Uncle Jims" out there too!

Seriously, there are problems teaching in a studio, and there are problems teaching elsewhere. However, the idea that it is OK for women to teach in a studio, but not men, almost seems to me like a kind of reverse discrimination!


Edited by Gary D. (07/05/11 03:46 PM)
_________________________
Piano Teacher

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#1707867 - 07/05/11 03:50 PM Re: Private male piano teachers? [Re: Vasilievich]
Stanny Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/08/06
Posts: 1461
I love John's idea of renting or purchasing a small house to turn into a studio. Then you could also hire additional teachers down the road and have a "Music School."

There are three male teachers in my local MTNA group, and there has been no gossip or problems. One is a Suzuki teacher, who ask that parents attend the lesson anyway.

_________________________
~Stanny~

Independent Music Teacher
Certified Piano Teacher, American College of Musicians
Member: MTNA, NGPT, ASMTA, NAMTA

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#1707871 - 07/05/11 04:00 PM Re: Private male piano teachers? [Re: lechuan]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7393
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Originally Posted By: lechuan
Thank you for raising this question. I have been wondering the same thing.

Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook

There are a number of issues we men have to face, and one of the most annoying is the constant threat of "molestation" charges. I video my lessons and send the video home with the student.


John, How do you usually explain the concept of video-taped lessons to parents? Is this for all young children? Or all female students (regardless of age)?

I highlight the recording as an offering my studio has which most do not - and it gives the student/parent an opportunity to look back at the lesson to answer questions without waiting until the next lesson.

Video is for 100% of students, whether parent is present or not.
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#1707886 - 07/05/11 04:33 PM Re: Private male piano teachers? [Re: Vasilievich]
kissyana Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/12/07
Posts: 199
Loc: Northeast Illinois
Wow. My first piano teacher was a man who taught out of his house. My mother is no dummy and wouldn't trust just anyone with her children. Although he closed the door during lessons, you could hear pretty well what was happening if you were sitting in the waiting area. I enjoyed the lessons very much. I had another male teacher during high school then another one again for my first three years of college. None of them were creepers.

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#1707888 - 07/05/11 04:34 PM Re: Private male piano teachers? [Re: John v.d.Brook]
griffin2417 Offline

Silver Supporter until Dec 29 2012


Registered: 12/12/10
Posts: 2451
Loc: Minneapolis, MN
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
Originally Posted By: lechuan
Thank you for raising this question. I have been wondering the same thing.

Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook

There are a number of issues we men have to face, and one of the most annoying is the constant threat of "molestation" charges. I video my lessons and send the video home with the student.


John, How do you usually explain the concept of video-taped lessons to parents? Is this for all young children? Or all female students (regardless of age)?

I highlight the recording as an offering my studio has which most do not - and it gives the student/parent an opportunity to look back at the lesson to answer questions without waiting until the next lesson.

Video is for 100% of students, whether parent is present or not.


Highlighting your studio's recording could also be of interest to other pianists who occasionally want to have their piece recorded. When I participated in my first ABF recital, I paid a modest fee to be recorded for the recital. I didn't have the equipment, and didn't want to take the time to figure that out because I was new to all of this. It was worth it to me to pay someone else to record me in their facility, and I could simply concentrate on giving my best for the performance!
_________________________
Carl


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#1707892 - 07/05/11 04:39 PM Re: Private male piano teachers? [Re: Vasilievich]
Elene Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/07
Posts: 1417
Loc: under monsoon clouds
My middle-aged male teacher teaches out of his home, and he's totally non-creepy. I don't think it's ever been an issue for him to teach at home, nor for other male teachers I've known.

I used to do the same, after a few years of teaching in music stores, and would never want to go back to a store studio.

Eventually, as my mother ages, I'll probably move my acupuncture practice to my home, although that would present greater difficulties. I miss working at home. There are a few disadvantages, but many advantages.

Good luck with your teaching career!

Elene
_________________________
Semi-Pro Musica

Blog: http://elenedom.wordpress.com
Website: http://elenelistens.com






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#1707904 - 07/05/11 05:04 PM Re: Private male piano teachers? [Re: Vasilievich]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4425
Loc: San Jose, CA
I hope you don't let this foolish 'advice' deprive your potential students of the benefit your teaching could give them. Personally, I've had fine teachers of both genders.

All teachers, no matter what the setting, have to be aware of their own reputation these days--- and they always have been. It is not a new thing. Open doors, parent participation, electronic recordings, lessons in somewhat public spaces; all are pretty good ideas and can help in a lot of ways.

The ladies seem to have their share of unfavorable press these days regarding sexual improprieties with students. Not that I'm glad to see it, but the guys don't have a lock on the market.

A female teacher I know got into some pretty bad trouble when she broke up a fight in a public school class. So sex isn't the only bear trap out there for teachers.

When you speak of being attracted to private teaching, it would be interesting to know what you find attractive about it. Teaching takes a special gift; it is not an easy job, at best. I always remember how hard my teachers worked to move me along--- they really worked for their money, and God bless them for it.
_________________________
Clef


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#1707945 - 07/05/11 06:11 PM Re: Private male piano teachers? [Re: Jeff Clef]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7393
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Jeff, having taught in both situations, I cannot imagine ever voluntarily returning to a classroom situation. It is so delightful to watch each student progress, from week to week, lesson to lesson. Their music making skills constantly improving. What could possibly be more rewarding?
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#1707964 - 07/05/11 07:10 PM Re: Private male piano teachers? [Re: Vasilievich]
musiclady Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/19/05
Posts: 431
Loc: Toronto, Canada
My husband and I go for the solution in teaching in a public place, mostly at the church he is music director at. And all our (I say "our" because we team-teach some students, or at least the other is asked to assist occasionally, like I'm good with the electronic stuff (audio, video recording, ear training, and music theory on the laptop) and he's good with playing most of the piano parts for my clarinet students and helping my more advanced clarinet students with their ear training requirements. (usually from Level 6 upwards) Actually we use the former somewhat more than the latter.)) students and parents know both of us, and are totally welcome to stay, though most don't. And my husband and I are required to have police checks since we are regularly at the church, and he's worked with elementary school kids in both private and school settings.

Meri
_________________________
Clarinet and Piano Teacher based out of Toronto, Canada.Web: http://donmillsmusicstudio.weebly.com

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#1707990 - 07/05/11 07:52 PM Re: Private male piano teachers? [Re: Vasilievich]
pianoeagle Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/16/11
Posts: 218
Loc: Texas
I know male teachers in my area, and they haven't dealt with this issue. I have studied in my male professor's home for a while without any thought regarding this.

I think there are a few ways to counter this potential issue, including encouraging parents to attend lessons, teaching in an open area (preferably with lots of natural light), offering references, or passing a background check (and letting any parents know). As long as you don't act like you're trying to hide anything, and you invite the parent to be as involved as possible, you should be OK.
_________________________
Children's piano instructor
Member NGPT, MTNA/TMTA/PMTA, NFMC/SJFMC

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#1707993 - 07/05/11 07:56 PM Re: Private male piano teachers? [Re: Jeff Clef]
Vasilievich Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/04/10
Posts: 90
Originally Posted By: Jeff Clef
When you speak of being attracted to private teaching, it would be interesting to know what you find attractive about it. Teaching takes a special gift; it is not an easy job, at best. I always remember how hard my teachers worked to move me along--- they really worked for their money, and God bless them for it.


What appeals to me about the private atmosphere (paticularly operating from your own residence, at least initially) are many things that have already been pointed out—cheaper for you, so cheaper for students, and the ability to work continually with a small group of students, and be able to develop close artistic relationships with them as you watch them grow, both physically and musically. Also, I've always been somewhat of an independent personality that likes to develop my own approach, so dealing with the politics, quirks, and constraints of an institution is definitely not on my wish list. From a practical standpoint, for at least the first few years after I graduate I fully anticipate having to work a second part-time job to be able to pay the bills, so teaching privately out of my home or flat would be a wonderful way for me to start out building a student base, which can then become a full-time source of livelihood eventually. That being said, I'm certainly not interested in private teaching for the "money."

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#1708016 - 07/05/11 08:31 PM Re: Private male piano teachers? [Re: Gary D.]
Exalted Wombat Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/28/09
Posts: 1197
Loc: London UK
Originally Posted By: Gary D.
However, the idea that it is OK for women to teach in a studio, but not men, almost seems to me like a kind of reverse discrimination!


Why "reverse"? Is there an assumption that discrimination is always in the favour of men?

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#1708025 - 07/05/11 08:47 PM Re: Private male piano teachers? [Re: Vasilievich]
dumdumdiddle Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 1265
Loc: California
We had a situation in our town several years ago where a male piano teacher was convicted of molesting some preteen/teen boys. I think male teachers do need to take extra precautions when setting up their studios.

The easiest thing I think would be to require the parent to sit in on each lesson. Your homeowners/renters insurance rates may even be determined by whether kids are being dropped off at your location or if they're attending with a parent.

You can also drive to students' homes, as my teacher did. There's a big demand for lessons taught in-home and you can charge some decent fees.
_________________________
Music School Owner
Early Childhood Music Teacher/Group Piano Teacher/Private Piano Teacher
Member of MTAC and Guild

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#1708028 - 07/05/11 08:52 PM Re: Private male piano teachers? [Re: Vasilievich]
Piano*Dad Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10385
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
Quote:
I don't know why men are seen as inherently less trustworthy.


Although I don't have the numbers at my fingertips, I would hazard a guess that the bulk of molestation episodes are initiated by men. Profiling is not irrational. It's a simple application of probability. If you want to fight the statistics, you must proactively demonstrate your trustworthiness. Hence John's videotaping, as one example. Keeping parents present at the lessons is another.
_________________________
Grotrian 192 #156455

https://www.youtube.com/user/dhfeld/videos

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#1708032 - 07/05/11 08:58 PM Re: Private male piano teachers? [Re: dumdumdiddle]
Vasilievich Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/04/10
Posts: 90
Originally Posted By: dumdumdiddle
You can also drive to students' homes, as my teacher did. There's a big demand for lessons taught in-home and you can charge some decent fees.

That's an interesting idea that I hadn't really thought about, so thank you for pointing it out. I would imagine any relatively intermediate or advanced student would want to make use of my grand, but especially for very young students this might be a good option for some.

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#1708037 - 07/05/11 09:06 PM Re: Private male piano teachers? [Re: Vasilievich]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4425
Loc: San Jose, CA
"It is so delightful to watch each student progress, from week to week, lesson to lesson. Their music making skills constantly improving. What could possibly be more rewarding?"

I didn't mean to suggest otherwise, John. It is good to hear the view from the other side of the piano bench.

My last two teachers--- both very fine--- seemed to be like ships in a storm at sea, dashing themselves on the rocks of my slowness, practice though I might. I actually, finally, consulted a doctor to see if something was going wrong with my brain. But no; nothing worse than old age. Younger minds are far more plastic. But, I've still continued to do my lessons and I do enjoy the very modest progress I've achieved with their help and sweat.

Vasilievich, there's nothing wrong with making a good income from your work. As the saying goes, "Never say anything bad about money--- it might hear you." But you do seem to have some good reasons and some empathy for your vocation, and... well, like John said.

I only wish I could see my first piano teacher again, so she could see that it really did make a difference in my life.
_________________________
Clef


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#1708066 - 07/05/11 09:39 PM Re: Private male piano teachers? [Re: Vasilievich]
griffin2417 Offline

Silver Supporter until Dec 29 2012


Registered: 12/12/10
Posts: 2451
Loc: Minneapolis, MN
Originally Posted By: Vasilievich
Originally Posted By: dumdumdiddle
You can also drive to students' homes, as my teacher did. There's a big demand for lessons taught in-home and you can charge some decent fees.

That's an interesting idea that I hadn't really thought about, so thank you for pointing it out. I would imagine any relatively intermediate or advanced student would want to make use of my grand, but especially for very young students this might be a good option for some.


You should look at another post in the Teachers forum in which home visits are discussed for some differing view points. Check out the post about "dropping students b/c of parents."
_________________________
Carl


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#1708118 - 07/05/11 10:53 PM Re: Private male piano teachers? [Re: griffin2417]
Vasilievich Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/04/10
Posts: 90
Originally Posted By: griffin2417
You should look at another post in the Teachers forum in which home visits are discussed for some differing view points. Check out the post about "dropping students b/c of parents."


Thanks for the tip- that was very informational. I agree with those who said traveling to student's home is not the best of circumstances, but it still is something to keep in mind.

What sort of education level is normal/expected for private teachers? Is a master's degree a sufficient and valid credential? Is there anything that parents (or the students themselves) are specifically looking for?

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#1708121 - 07/05/11 10:56 PM Re: Private male piano teachers? [Re: Vasilievich]
kck Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/04/10
Posts: 268
My son used to take private lessons out of a male teacher's home. He was a high demand teacher too. He now take lessons from another male teacher at a large music school. I don't see why that would be a problem at all. I'd be welcoming to parents sitting in and taking notes if they want to, but really, I don't see the problem.
_________________________
Amateur musician, piano and violin parent

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#1708152 - 07/05/11 11:48 PM Re: Private male piano teachers? [Re: Exalted Wombat]
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4812
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: Gary D.
However, the idea that it is OK for women to teach in a studio, but not men, almost seems to me like a kind of reverse discrimination!


Originally Posted By: Exalted Wombat
Why "reverse"? Is there an assumption that discrimination is always in the favour of men?

"Is there an assumption?" Or did *I* make an assumption, in your eyes?

If someone, for any reason, is discouraged against doing ANYTHING, for reasons of gender, then there is prejudice. And the idea that certain "work" is mainly for "men" or for "women" is hardly novel.

In the past, it was assumed that "school teachers" would be women, doctors would be men, nurses would be women, etc.

This thread started out with a male beging told by a female not to do the same work, in the same environment, that *she* did.

Call it what you like: it does not assume equality in the profession I have been in for decades.

Or do you have another point?
_________________________
Piano Teacher

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#1708229 - 07/06/11 02:30 AM Re: Private male piano teachers? [Re: Gary D.]
beet31425 Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/12/09
Posts: 3812
Loc: Bay Area, CA
Originally Posted By: Gary D.
Originally Posted By: Gary D.
However, the idea that it is OK for women to teach in a studio, but not men, almost seems to me like a kind of reverse discrimination!


Originally Posted By: Exalted Wombat
Why "reverse"? Is there an assumption that discrimination is always in the favour of men?

"Is there an assumption?" Or did *I* make an assumption, in your eyes?

If someone, for any reason, is discouraged against doing ANYTHING, for reasons of gender, then there is prejudice...

Or do you have another point?


Gary,

I think Wombat was just wondering why you called it "reverse discrimination" instead of just "discrimination". I think he is in agreement with you when you say that any gender prejudice, in either direction, is discriminatory. Hence why the need for the "reverse".

(On the other hand, since historically, and certainly today, most discrimination in the world is against women, it's pretty common (and, I think, not so terrible) to refer to discrimination against men as "reverse".)

-Jason
_________________________
Schubert: Bb Impromptu D.935/3; Mozart: D minor concerto; Chopin: first Ballade

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#1708232 - 07/06/11 02:46 AM Re: Private male piano teachers? [Re: Vasilievich]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5512
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: Vasilievich
What sort of education level is normal/expected for private teachers? Is a master's degree a sufficient and valid credential? Is there anything that parents (or the students themselves) are specifically looking for?


Any degree will do! In fact, my MTAC branch has quite a few teachers who don't even have a music degree!

The great majority of piano students--let's face it--don't need conservatory-level training, and over half of the kids who take up piano don't even make their way out of the method books.

Unless you want to teach the "serious" students only, but then you'd have quite a bit of competition from older, more established and experienced teachers. And you'd have far fewer students.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#1708238 - 07/06/11 02:57 AM Re: Private male piano teachers? [Re: Vasilievich]
John Bell Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/05/11
Posts: 6
Loc: Minnesota, USA
I began piano lessons when I was 13 and my first teacher was male. My parents didn't sit in nor did they even stay at the studio. I think that because neither my parents nor I did not fear anything, my teacher did not have to worry about fixing my hands or something that a teacher may fear doing. I think that is just human nature (perhaps especially in America) we just want to believe that everyone is a predator.

In my personal experience, anyone who has gone through the process of getting a degree in music and building their whole career on performing and teaching would have more sense than risking everything by molesting a child.

Actually after my first piano teacher said that he couldn't teach me anymore after one year (he only taught very beginning piano) I had a female teacher who was probably less comfortable fixing my posture/hands than my first piano teacher was.

I guess video taping lessons would be a good review material to improve your teaching as well as a legal precaution.
_________________________
http://www.jbpianotuning.com

Just starting the profession of piano tuning, hoping to learn a lot about fixing/tuning pianos, and get a good education in business.

Student at Concordia College in Moorhead, MN. I'm majoring in Music and Business.

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#1708240 - 07/06/11 03:13 AM Re: Private male piano teachers? [Re: Vasilievich]
ando Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/10
Posts: 3612
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
I don't videotape lessons, but I will record audio if requested. I also don't engage in any physical contact with students. I don't want any misunderstandings of any kind. I disagree with the notion that it's unavoidable that you have to put your hands on your student to correct certain problems. I think you just need to be creative with your words. I don't want any child going home to his/her parents saying, "my teacher touched me here or held this". If it can't be done with words, it's not important enough to do.

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