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#1763764 - 10/03/11 06:25 AM How do I become an amateur piano teacher?
M. Phillip R. Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/20/11
Posts: 10
Loc: Texas
This is something i've wanted to do my entire life. I've played the piano for 18 years. It's been my passion and love. Music is very important to me. I know most professional piano teachers have music degrees.

I want to get some experience with this. I applied to Uni. of Houston's Moore's Music School for next fall semester. I'm very excited about it.

Back to the point, I don't have any certifications, degrees, experience, or references yet. My question is; how do I become a piano teacher starting from where I am?

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#1763806 - 10/03/11 08:29 AM Re: How do I become an amateur piano teacher? [Re: M. Phillip R.]
liszt85 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/26/08
Posts: 3159
Originally Posted By: M. Phillip R.

Back to the point, I don't have any certifications, degrees, experience, or references yet. My question is; how do I become a piano teacher starting from where I am?


Post ads on craigslist, and start teaching. Start out with low rates. Learn about teaching by participating in the teachers forum here. Btw, teach only if you're confident that you will teach the basics right. Teaching is a huge responsibility. If you have any doubts regarding whether you can do it right or not, you should probably wait until you know better (a music degree is a good way of getting there).
_________________________
Current:
Beethoven: Sonata Op.31, No.2 ("Tempest")
Debussy: Danseuses de Delphes (Prelude 1, Book 1)
Next in line:
Chopin: Ballade No. 1 in G minor, Op.23
Debussy: Le vent dans la plaine (Prelude 3, Book 1)
Debussy: Les sons et les parfums tournent dans l'air du soir (Prelude 4, Book 1)

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#1763808 - 10/03/11 08:34 AM Re: How do I become an amateur piano teacher? [Re: M. Phillip R.]
Nannerl Mozart Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/19/08
Posts: 732
Loc: Australia, Melbourne
Are you taking lessons currently? If you are then your teacher might be helpful, I've just started teaching and I am into my second year of my undergraduate degree majoring in music, my teacher is there to give me some guidance, answer my questions and help me tackle some business/pedagogical problems that come along the way. You should also consider studying theory, it does help and it's something that I think and am sure that all teachers know.
_________________________
http://colouredsilence.wordpress.com/


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#1763831 - 10/03/11 09:27 AM Re: How do I become an amateur piano teacher? [Re: M. Phillip R.]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12153
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
It is a great idea to have a mentor you can go to to make sure you don't make huge mistakes with a student.

On a side note, when I read the topic about an "amateur teacher" I thought immediately... you don't do it as an amateur! Amateur pianist, sure, you can play for your own enjoyment, but as a teacher, you must be professional. Even if you feel you don't deserve it, you have to be careful that you charge a rate that is in line with what other teachers with similar experience are charging in your area. If you undercut them you will actually be doing a disservice to your students because they will expect other teachers to charge the same. When they find out otherwise, then they will either be reluctant to move onto a teacher more knowledgable later on when it is time for them to move on.

You also want to run your studio professionally. I think that hardest thing to overcome for private teachers is the fact that they do this full time and take what they do very seriously. Most people see them working out of the home and assume they do it for a little extra cash on the side. I remember teaching students for years out of my home and then I had the chance to teach from a studio. As soon as I did that, I recall parents of students I had taught for years saying things like, "I never knew this was your full-time job," or "You really are running this like a real business now," even though I had changed nothing significant in my policies. My point is that when part time teachers also represent piano teachers in their community, and if they train students and parents to not treat their teacher respectfully by following a policy - whatever guidelines you feel are a good fit for your personality - then it makes it harder for them when it's time to move on.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#1763842 - 10/03/11 09:54 AM Re: How do I become an amateur piano teacher? [Re: M. Phillip R.]
Dustin Sanders Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/11/10
Posts: 479
Loc: US
You can't be any worse than my first teacher who charged $15 / half hour lesson.

After 4 years, I didn't know what a scale was , what a chord was , never heard the word technique before and I had no idea what sight reading or ear training was.

So, there are some really awful teachers out there. You don't want to be one of them!

I would hang out in these forums and ask questions and get advice.

If you want to get students, you should search these forums and I'm sure you'll find a ton of threads of how to advertise and best advertising methods for a piano studio.

Good Luck!
_________________________
An Eclectic Piano Teaching Experience







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#1763940 - 10/03/11 01:03 PM Re: How do I become an amateur piano teacher? [Re: Morodiene]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19853
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
On a side note, when I read the topic about an "amateur teacher" I thought immediately... you don't do it as an amateur! Amateur pianist, sure, you can play for your own enjoyment, but as a teacher, you must be professional.....

I agree, and I wouldn't even call it a side note. I think it's critical for anyone who proposes to teach piano, and if someone is really viewing it as the OP phrased it, I think it could reflect some serious trouble about the whole thing. It absolutely jumped out at me in the title.

I think it's admirable that none of the piano teachers have yet seemed to be offended by it! And hopefully the OP didn't mean the word in the way that it sounds.

I suppose if someone plays piano and a friend or whomever who can't afford a whole lot for lessons says "hey can you help me out with some 'sort-of-lessons'," I wouldn't see any problem about truly viewing oneself as an "amateur" teacher. But I do if the person is actively putting himself/herself forward as a teacher.
_________________________
"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

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#1763967 - 10/03/11 01:54 PM Re: How do I become an amateur piano teacher? [Re: Mark_C]
rocket88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3179
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
I think it's critical for anyone who proposes to teach piano, and if someone is really viewing it as the OP phrased it, I think it could reflect some serious trouble about the whole thing. It absolutely jumped out at me in the title.


The first piano teacher is the most important one.

It is in the first lessons that proper body and hand posture are taught, along with basic skills are established such as note reading, scales, arpeggios, basic theory, tempo control, counting, dynamics, etc. are established.

As a teacher, I have had numerous students who began with an amateur teacher (and that includes the self-taught, perhaps the most "amateur" of all teachers).

To a person, each one had serious problems to overcome, most if not all of which were the result of bad teaching. Unfortunately, I have yet to have one who completely overcame those habits.
_________________________
Music teacher and piano player.

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#1764093 - 10/03/11 05:34 PM Re: How do I become an amateur piano teacher? [Re: liszt85]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5558
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: liszt85
Post ads on craigslist, and start teaching. Start out with low rates.

Please don't.

Don't become one of those awful teachers who hog students by undercutting everyone else in town. More importantly, don't ruin students by giving them bad instructions and allowing them to form bad habits.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#1764121 - 10/03/11 06:38 PM Re: How do I become an amateur piano teacher? [Re: M. Phillip R.]
Stanny Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/08/06
Posts: 1461
Let me plug a good book by a former teacher of mine:

http://www.amazon.com/Independent-Piano-Teachers-Studio-Handbook/dp/0634080830

This will really help you to get started right with your policy, tuition, and everything else you will need to think about!
_________________________
~Stanny~

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

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#1764122 - 10/03/11 06:38 PM Re: How do I become an amateur piano teacher? [Re: M. Phillip R.]
ten left thumbs Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/22/09
Posts: 3336
Loc: Scotland
Everyone has to start somewhere. Everyone had a first student. It's reasonable to start out with fairly low rates.

I think the main thing is not to assume that just because you can play, that you know how to teach.
_________________________
I am a competent teacher.


www.justfingers.co.uk
www.babysinging.co.uk

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#1764138 - 10/03/11 07:18 PM Re: How do I become an amateur piano teacher? [Re: ten left thumbs]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12153
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: ten left thumbs
Everyone has to start somewhere. Everyone had a first student. It's reasonable to start out with fairly low rates.

I think the main thing is not to assume that just because you can play, that you know how to teach.


Of course, we've all been there. "Fairly low" as in at the low end of the range of what teachers are charging in the area. Most people to start out teaching, however, underestimate this number and end up shooting themselves in the foot. The right price for lessons for you is something that takes research.

I suggest calling around and speaking to teachers to find out what they charge. Then considering their experience and degrees and such, you can get a good feel for what you should be charging.

I think the main issue people are having is with the concept of being an amateur teacher. Not a beginner teacher, not part-time teacher, an amateur. Perhaps a poor choice of words on the part of the OP - I'd like to hear back from them to see what exactly they meant by it.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#1764140 - 10/03/11 07:31 PM Re: How do I become an amateur piano teacher? [Re: M. Phillip R.]
M. Phillip R. Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/20/11
Posts: 10
Loc: Texas
OP, here. I phrased it with the word 'amateur' as a gesture of meekness I suppose. I don't want to teach as a side-job. I want to start out that way, though, because I won't be able to support myself with it at first. My goal is to be a full time teacher.

I work well with children, i've been a camp counselor and jrotc instructor and all of that fun stuff. I have the patience to do it. I might not have the teaching methods, but I definitely plan on doing research and asking questions.

I don't want to be a teacher for bargain piano lessons that can't teach the basics. I'll be reviewing what I know (in a cursory way), and i'll be very cautious not to commit any taboos with my teaching style.

I want to share my passion for both piano and music... as well as teaching.

Thank you for the answers! What i'm really looking for, however, is how does someone like myself with a total lack of credentials advertise to get my first students.

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#1764166 - 10/03/11 08:36 PM Re: How do I become an amateur piano teacher? [Re: M. Phillip R.]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12153
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: M. Phillip R.
OP, here. I phrased it with the word 'amateur' as a gesture of meekness I suppose. I don't want to teach as a side-job. I want to start out that way, though, because I won't be able to support myself with it at first. My goal is to be a full time teacher.

I work well with children, i've been a camp counselor and jrotc instructor and all of that fun stuff. I have the patience to do it. I might not have the teaching methods, but I definitely plan on doing research and asking questions.

I don't want to be a teacher for bargain piano lessons that can't teach the basics. I'll be reviewing what I know (in a cursory way), and i'll be very cautious not to commit any taboos with my teaching style.

I want to share my passion for both piano and music... as well as teaching.

Thank you for the answers! What i'm really looking for, however, is how does someone like myself with a total lack of credentials advertise to get my first students.




OK, that is good to hear. Like we said, we've all been there before! Here are some good ways to get started:

1) Join a local MTA or piano guild organization. Teachers whose studios are full will gladly refer new students to you

2) Online teacher directories. I have used www.getlessonsnow.com and they always show up within the first 5 google results when I search for a teacher in my area. It's $50/year, which is a bargain, IMO.

3) Get to know your local sheet music and piano dealers. Leave them your cards to refer students to you. Some even have bulletin boards where you can tack a sheet with tear-offs at the bottom that has your contact info.

4) Get your current students speaking about you. Words of mouth is always your best advertisement. Tell current students that you'll give them a free lesson for every friend they refer who signs up for lessons. You'll build your studio pretty quickly that way, and you'll get them used to speaking about you to others.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#1764177 - 10/03/11 08:53 PM Re: How do I become an amateur piano teacher? [Re: Morodiene]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19853
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
....I think the main issue people are having is with the concept of being an amateur teacher....

Yes -- I think the only.

Quote:
....Not a beginner teacher, not part-time teacher, an amateur. Perhaps a poor choice of words on the part of the OP - I'd like to hear back from them to see what exactly they meant by it.

Yes.
And anyway, if nothing else, I think he now knows to never put it that way again. grin


(edit) Phillip -- just saw your reply to Morodeine. thumb


Edited by Mark_C (10/03/11 08:56 PM)
_________________________
"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

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#1764300 - 10/04/11 12:55 AM Re: How do I become an amateur piano teacher? [Re: M. Phillip R.]
Candywoman Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/14/03
Posts: 855
Unless your music degree has a strong component on pedagogy, it will not necessarily be all that helpful. I qualify this by saying if you end up teaching a lot of harmony, history, and higher grades of piano, it will be of more use.

I think you should wait with teaching. You need to take many lessons on pedagogy from a qualified teacher. You should know exactly which method books and supplementary materials you will use and have seen several demonstration lessons given by your teacher to a young student. Or you should teach several lessons to your teacher's students while she watches.

A few years back, I encouraged all my grade eight students to become piano teachers. I have since changed my tune. Until you have a solid foundation of your own, and many lessons from a qualified teacher on how to teach, you are taking business from good teachers, and not doing your students any favors. I know kids will always learn something from you. But they would learn more from a qualified teacher in half the time.

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#1764324 - 10/04/11 02:09 AM Re: How do I become an amateur piano teacher? [Re: M. Phillip R.]
M. Phillip R. Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/20/11
Posts: 10
Loc: Texas
How nice of you to have such baseless assumptions Candywoman. Although your concern is appreciated, it's dismissed.

Everybody starts at 0 experience with teaching.


I really do appreciate the responses, sarcasm aside.

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#1764328 - 10/04/11 02:29 AM Re: How do I become an amateur piano teacher? [Re: M. Phillip R.]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19853
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: M. Phillip R.
....Everybody starts at 0 experience with teaching.....

But hardly anyone contemplating serious piano teaching puts it as you did.

I know that you clarified it in a good way later on, but you have to understand that few people read every word of every post before replying, and that you set yourself up for sharp or annoyed replies (innocently, I understand). As per what I said in my first reply about it being admirable that no teachers had taken offense, it seems to me that you're very fortunate having gotten replies as nice and supportive as you've gotten, and that you're best off being prepared for some further occasional sharp replies -- and trying not to mind them too much, which I know might be hard.
_________________________
"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)

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#1764553 - 10/04/11 12:40 PM Re: How do I become an amateur piano teacher? [Re: Morodiene]
LeaC Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/13/11
Posts: 413
Loc: USA
+1
_________________________
Working on: Reworking Bartok's Suite Opus 14, Chopin's Polonaise Op.40, The Military (so much fun!)

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#1764570 - 10/04/11 01:05 PM Re: How do I become an amateur piano teacher? [Re: Mark_C]
LeaC Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/13/11
Posts: 413
Loc: USA
@M.PhillipR,

Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Originally Posted By: M. Phillip R.
....Everybody starts at 0 experience with teaching.....

But hardly anyone contemplating serious piano teaching puts it as you did.

I know that you clarified it in a good way later on, but you have to understand that few people read every word of every post before replying, and that you set yourself up for sharp or annoyed replies (innocently, I understand). As per what I said in my first reply about it being admirable that no teachers had taken offense, it seems to me that you're very fortunate having gotten replies as nice and supportive as you've gotten, and that you're best off being prepared for some further occasional sharp replies -- and trying not to mind them too much, which I know might be hard.


It is true that you will get a variety of responses here. One thing I think is important is that people who have ungone rigorous studies are likely to be pretty tough. You learn from school that not taking things personally will be necessary in this field. Maybe people should criticize with care, however, some things are just wrong, and someone will surely set you (or anyone else) straight. This is simply because this is a profession and when people are allowed to do and speak as they wish it becomes necessary for this industry to be self-monitoring. That is to say that within the industry itself, we must be on guard to prevent misinformation or misrepresentaion to some extent.

Professional teachers, IMO, often react strongly to the question of proper teaching and business practices.

I usually take my lumps and go one. To be sure, I have feelings about being corrrected, especially when it's from a person is not qualified to do so, but it happens. Not to sound negative, but we all have to pay our dues. Of course, I am NOT talking about candywoman at all in this statement, to be clear on that.
_________________________
Working on: Reworking Bartok's Suite Opus 14, Chopin's Polonaise Op.40, The Military (so much fun!)

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#1764577 - 10/04/11 01:21 PM Re: How do I become an amateur piano teacher? [Re: M. Phillip R.]
LeaC Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/13/11
Posts: 413
Loc: USA
Congratulations in your decision to become a piano/music teacher!

Playing for people is a fine way to demonstrate your abilities. Do that as much as you can while you learn pedagogy. Flaunt it! Your current knowledge of music itself is your credentials at this point and is a great way to break into the business. It's a plus; use it to your advantage.

Another suggestion is that, when you are enrolled in the music school you have chosen, be sure to offer to do lots of accompanying. Also, tell the administrator and your teachers that you would like a position as a student teacher. Be ambitious as possible. Put every feather you can find in your hat!

The best thing you can do for yourself and your students is to align yourself with other professionals who are willing to take you under their wing somewhat, as you earn their confidence in you. Let them know that you are serious and welcome their assistance. Let them know that you are studying pedagogy. I've found that most musicians/teachers are happy to help.

Being under the auspsices of a respected teacher may be necessary both so you can learn, and so you will start out by giving people the impression that you are not an amateur, but devoted to being your best. You want people to take you seriously from the outset. I believe that you are well on your way to becoming a good teacher, and others will see this, too.

If you don't have a degree yet, most teacher's associations will require you to demonsrate your teaching ability by having your students observed. You might want to join your local musician's union to begin to build your credibility. Look online for associations and groups you can join. You might be surprised at what you will find.

The best of luck to you, and welcome to PW!
_________________________
Working on: Reworking Bartok's Suite Opus 14, Chopin's Polonaise Op.40, The Military (so much fun!)

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#1764594 - 10/04/11 02:10 PM Re: How do I become an amateur piano teacher? [Re: M. Phillip R.]
Minniemay Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/09
Posts: 1702
Loc: CA
It's understandable that those who have made the effort and took to the time to get serious pedagogical training will be skeptical. That being said, not all pedagogical training is equal.

The ideal is a thorough course of study that includes child development, child psychology, pedagogical methods at all levels, piano literature, group study, observation and supervised teaching. Not many pedagogy degrees are that thorough. Where I went to grad school, the pedagogy major was simply a piano major with one or two courses in pedagogy. My undergraduate degree was the thorough version.

Yes, we all have to begin somewhere, and that somewhere should begin with preparation of some kind beyond your playing ability. The advice to join a local MTA is a good one, as is the idea to apprentice yourself to an experienced, successful teacher. There are a number of good books to help you get ready. I personally love Richard Chronister's "A Piano Teacher's Legacy." You will find some valuable things in "Practical Piano Pedagogy" by Martha Baker-Jordan. "Questions and Answers" by Frances Clark is also excellent.

Beginners are the most difficult to teach, in my experience. I would suggest that you get your feet wet with some students who have already had a start. I still feel that supervision is quite helpful, so consider videotaping your lessons and reviewing them with a mentor teacher. Find time to observe lessons yourself. And if you have the opportunity, do take some pedagogy courses. When well taught, they will save you lots of mistakes down the road.
_________________________
B.A., Piano, Piano Pegagogy, Music Ed.
M.M., Piano

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#1764780 - 10/04/11 08:03 PM Re: How do I become an amateur piano teacher? [Re: M. Phillip R.]
Candywoman Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/14/03
Posts: 855
The OP stated: I don't have any certifications, degrees, experience, or references yet. In a later post, you emphasize that you have a total lack of experience.

Based on that tidbit of information, many teachers have suggested that you need to gain that experience. The only point on which I differ from these teachers is I feel you should wait before starting teaching. Focus on gaining knowledge.

Since you do not see a merit in waiting, you take an adversarial position. That little bit of anger indicates to me your willingness to take the steps you need to, but also your frustration at not having the proper training yet. My suggestion: get thee to a pedagogy teacher pronto.

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#1764791 - 10/04/11 08:17 PM Re: How do I become an amateur piano teacher? [Re: Candywoman]
liszt85 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/26/08
Posts: 3159
Originally Posted By: Candywoman
The OP stated: I don't have any certifications, degrees, experience, or references yet. In a later post, you emphasize that you have a total lack of experience.

Based on that tidbit of information, many teachers have suggested that you need to gain that experience. The only point on which I differ from these teachers is I feel you should wait before starting teaching. Focus on gaining knowledge.

Since you do not see a merit in waiting, you take an adversarial position. That little bit of anger indicates to me your willingness to take the steps you need to, but also your frustration at not having the proper training yet. My suggestion: get thee to a pedagogy teacher pronto.


And what exactly tells you for sure that the OP does not have the requisite "knowledge" to start teaching? (Note: knowledge and experience are two different things, maybe not totally independent of each other, but still need to be considered separately). Not all the great teachers in the history of piano teaching underwent teacher training or extensive pedagogy coursework in college. There are things you pick up from your own teachers if those teachers are good enough. What tells you that the OP has not had great teachers so far? You're making far too many assumptions here, IMO. Your point about instruction in pedagogy as being useful is well taken but when you proceed to make such a huge deal out of it, it ceases to make much sense because the few great teachers I've had sessions with were performance majors in school and never underwent pedagogical training as far as I know. I'm sure it helps but people can teach well without having to go through that.
_________________________
Current:
Beethoven: Sonata Op.31, No.2 ("Tempest")
Debussy: Danseuses de Delphes (Prelude 1, Book 1)
Next in line:
Chopin: Ballade No. 1 in G minor, Op.23
Debussy: Le vent dans la plaine (Prelude 3, Book 1)
Debussy: Les sons et les parfums tournent dans l'air du soir (Prelude 4, Book 1)

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#1764850 - 10/04/11 10:26 PM Re: How do I become an amateur piano teacher? [Re: M. Phillip R.]
Candywoman Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/14/03
Posts: 855
liszt85: At what point did you receive instruction from your great teachers? This makes all the difference. The OP will likely be teaching many beginners if s/he places an ad. That's a statistical reality. The importance of teaching beginners well cannot be overstated. The OP has many years of lessons but I doubt if s/he remembers how s/he was taught at the very beginning, both in terms of selected materials and method. Even if s/he had a verbatim memory of that first year, s/he would not know if that is the best book or method to teach. The experience of being a student is not the same as that of being a teacher. I don't see how a post suggesting waiting to gain more knowledge could possibly be taken ill. Just get the training.


Edited by Candywoman (10/04/11 10:27 PM)

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#1764853 - 10/04/11 10:31 PM Re: How do I become an amateur piano teacher? [Re: Candywoman]
liszt85 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/26/08
Posts: 3159
Originally Posted By: Candywoman
liszt85: At what point did you receive instruction from your great teachers? This makes all the difference. The OP will likely be teaching many beginners if s/he places an ad. That's a statistical reality. The importance of teaching beginners well cannot be overstated. The OP has many years of lessons but I doubt if s/he remembers how s/he was taught at the very beginning, both in terms of selected materials and method. Even if s/he had a verbatim memory of that first year, s/he would not know if that is the best book or method to teach. The experience of being a student is not the same as that of being a teacher. I don't see how a post suggesting waiting to gain more knowledge could possibly be taken ill. Just get the training.


And to get the training, the only way is to go through a pedagogy degree coursework? I think this is a good time to agree to disagree.
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#1764864 - 10/04/11 10:51 PM Re: How do I become an amateur piano teacher? [Re: M. Phillip R.]
LeaC Offline
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While I feel that pedagogical training is necessary at some point, if you are careful, as said before here, and make a comprehensive list of the aspects of music and playing the piano that you have determined to be indispensible, then you should be alright to start. Not to toot my own horn, really, really, however, I took a student at my teacher's suggestion when I was about 18 or 19 (after being at an early advanced level). My teacher was so great at that time, I figured I would emulate her and teach what she had taught me, only on a smaller scale. This student graduated high school, went on to a major university with an acclaimed music faculty. My student studied with me in the summer. She related to me that her teacher told her she was the best transfer student she ever had! I had to give my teacher total credit for that.

Later I learned all about the various teaching method books, and pedagogy that was mainly for children. Before that, I had a natural way of teaching in which I did not use method books but rarely. I actually lost something when I did a complete survey of all the methods and used them with my students. Back in my younger days, I was very spontaneous, and just taught from books like Music for Millions and other collections where I simply chose a good piece of music for my students. My students had the Alfred books for beginning with composers and others that focused on composers.It was all so pure. I rarely use a method book today. I did learn from them, though. To me, method books are like jail to a student! Maybe I shouldn't say that.

There is something to be said for approaching piano from a performance standpoint, and there is benefit from pedagogy training. I think a highly motivated person can learn to teach well, but beginners do require very strong guidance.


Edited by LeaC (10/04/11 10:53 PM)
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#1764878 - 10/04/11 11:33 PM Re: How do I become an amateur piano teacher? [Re: LeaC]
M. Phillip R. Offline
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Registered: 09/20/11
Posts: 10
Loc: Texas
All of make great points either way, and further qualify them well.

As aforestated, I have worked with children for a good portion of my life now. I grew up in a musical family of 13. All of us took our lessons at home. It was like growing up in the sound of music. I have spent a lot of time observing teachers. Only 3 of us are pianists but I also enjoyed listening in on the baritone, violin, flute, voice, french horn, and guitar lessons.

My grandmother has taught piano in her hometown for over 50 years. She's now quite adored and celebrated in that small town! She holds annual recital which serve somewhat as family reunions there (in Virginia).



I hope my point is somehow becoming apparent. I've spent a great deal of my life around teachers and students. As I said before, music is my love and passion and I wish to share it with future pianists after me.


While no, I haven't undergone pedagogical training and don't have true experience as a teacher, I believe i'm being underestimated in this thread to a mild degree (at least). I would place bets that I am not the least experienced with children in this thread because I can't remember a period in my life (other than this year) that I haven't lived with or at least spent a great deal of extracurricular time with children and teens.


I'm not just taking your concerns with a grain of salt either. I plan on taking full advantage of my resources; pianoworld, my grandmother, my current teacher, and my parents.

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#1764957 - 10/05/11 03:25 AM Re: How do I become an amateur piano teacher? [Re: LeaC]
AZNpiano Offline
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Originally Posted By: LeaC
To me, method books are like jail to a student! Maybe I shouldn't say that.

No, you shouldn't. All new teachers should use method books and get to know as many existing methods as possible. What you describe (picking and choosing music from different books) should be reserved for the experienced teachers who have been teaching for many, many years.

Beginners are not hard to teach, but they are hard to teach well. It's very easy to settle for shortcuts and seek quick results, and/or move through material too quickly to allow for complete absorption. It's also very easy to allow bad habits to form.

Probably the best advice I can offer the OP is to be patient and be mindful when teaching beginners, and don't be afraid to repeat the same things a godzillion times. And be able to explain the same thing in several different ways.

I never took one class in piano pedagogy, but I turned out fine. You just have to be willing to learn and teach yourself.
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#1765007 - 10/05/11 06:13 AM Re: How do I become an amateur piano teacher? [Re: M. Phillip R.]
Minniemay Offline
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The things that I suggested are things I still do myself, even after 30 years of teaching. You can never stop learning how to do things better. Just when you think you've seen or done it all, something else turns up. Experience allows you to deal with things more quickly and, hopefully, more successfully than a novice teacher, but learn you must!
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#1765036 - 10/05/11 08:32 AM Re: How do I become an amateur piano teacher? [Re: M. Phillip R.]
Morodiene Offline
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Originally Posted By: M. Phillip R.



I'm not just taking your concerns with a grain of salt either. I plan on taking full advantage of my resources; pianoworld, my grandmother, my current teacher, and my parents.



This is great to hear. It sounds like you really have the desire and resources available to help you get started. The worst thing is when someone just wings it and goes it alone without proper guidance - even from a book. I second AZN's suggestion to get as many method books as possible and look through each of them, perhaps taking notes on their approach, what you like and don't like. Many of the pedagogical books recommended already have such surveys in them, but it's best to look at them yourself and determine what you like. From that you can choose which one you think would work best with your teaching style and go with that. As you go along you'll find the need to supplement with other materials, and please do so. Method books aren't all-inclusive, and I personally feel teachers who feel that way may not necessarily be the best teachers they can be.
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#1765074 - 10/05/11 10:01 AM Re: How do I become an amateur piano teacher? [Re: M. Phillip R.]
Overexposed Offline
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"Each indecision brings its own delays and days are lost lamenting over lost days...What you can do or think you can do, begin it. For boldness has magic, power, and genius in it."--Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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#1765114 - 10/05/11 11:16 AM Re: How do I become an amateur piano teacher? [Re: M. Phillip R.]
Luke in ChiTown Offline
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Registered: 03/07/11
Posts: 96
Loc: Chicago, Illinois, USA
For what its worth, the Royal Conservatory of Music does offer a teacher's diploma which could be obtained through self-study if university coursework is not feasible for one reason or another. The program is VERY thorough, and the performance requirements are quite demanding as well. I would have no qualms whatsoever in recognizing this diploma as indication that a teacher is very serious about their profession and has a sound basis in the repertoire, theory, and musicianship skills required to be an professional teacher.

I'm not saying, of course, that this WILL make you a good teacher. There are so many intangibles that cannot be taught in a classroom or learned from a book. Attending conferences, observing fellow teachers, seeking out more experienced teachers for advice are an important part of teacher development- a part which never ceases.

But, I do believe that without a firm grounding in theory, musicianship, and repertoire, there are limitations that will come up that will hinder your ability to serve your students 100%. Once you head down this road, you will realize how much there is to learn.

Many of us on this board have spent years of our lives devoted to our students and becoming the best teachers we possibly can. We have all witnessed the damage that can be done by the teacher who has little experience or training, or the desire to obtain any (ESPECIALLY with beginning students). It is understandable that many of us would be weary in regards to the original post.

However, I can only offer encouragement. If you are serious about this, bone up on the fundamentals of music and do as much observing of good teachers as you possibly can.

Information on the Teacher's Diploma can be found on the website for the RCM/Achievement Program:
http://www.theachievementprogram.org/

The syllabus for the Teacher's Diploma can be found starting on page 104 of the Piano Syllabus, which can be downloaded as a PDF here:
http://www.theachievementprogram.org/sites/default/files/files/PianoSyllabus_online.pdf

Best of luck!
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#1765322 - 10/05/11 05:17 PM Re: How do I become an amateur piano teacher? [Re: AZNpiano]
Gary D. Online   content
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Originally Posted By: AZNpiano

I never took one class in piano pedagogy, but I turned out fine. You just have to be willing to learn and teach yourself.

I am laughing SO hard!

How DARE you teach without having studied piano pedagogy?

You should take at least one course. wink

(I'm assuming everyone here knows that I am joking...)

Seriously, I took exactly one course in piano pedagogy for the simple reason that it was required in order to get my performance degree. And I got a C. The teacher was a big fan of Robert Pace, and I thought his method was horrible.

On topic: although I have had to do "damage control" with transfer students as a result of teaching that is inexpressively horrible, I have to keep in mind that each year I want to slap myself because of something I did the year before - because there was something I didn't know last year.


Edited by Gary D. (10/05/11 05:25 PM)
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#1765326 - 10/05/11 05:21 PM Re: How do I become an amateur piano teacher? [Re: M. Phillip R.]
John v.d.Brook Offline
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Registered: 03/18/06
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Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
When I read the title of this thread, "How do I become an amateur piano teacher?" I was so put off that I didn't read any of it for some time. Like today. Why would anyone ever aspire to be an amateur, assuming that they mean by that, non-professional, little or no competence, etc.

As it happens, there are many fine pianists who are teaching on the side. There are also plenty of less than adequate pianists who are teaching on the side, for pin money, etc. They are amateur teachers. Most don't take their teaching seriously, they don't study the various skills necessary to help transfer information, they don't study progression and how to help the student build on knowledge already gained.

If you love teaching and you love playing the piano, and finally, if you can tolerate the business aspects of running a studio, they you have the makings of a real pro. OP, I hope that is really what you are striving for! And if so, I wish you the best of success.
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#1765346 - 10/05/11 05:55 PM Re: How do I become an amateur piano teacher? [Re: M. Phillip R.]
ten left thumbs Offline
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I think we need to get past this word 'amateur'. it was not meant in the way it has been interpreted.

I took it like 'amateur boxer'.

Don't want to get on the wrong side of one of those!
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#1765359 - 10/05/11 06:20 PM Re: How do I become an amateur piano teacher? [Re: ten left thumbs]
Gary D. Online   content
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Originally Posted By: ten left thumbs
I think we need to get past this word 'amateur'. it was not meant in the way it has been interpreted.

I agree. thumb
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#1765436 - 10/05/11 09:03 PM Re: How do I become an amateur piano teacher? [Re: ten left thumbs]
Mark_C Online   content
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Originally Posted By: ten left thumbs
I think we need to get past this word 'amateur'. it was not meant in the way it has been interpreted....

Yes -- but it was important not to get past it till it was dealt with. smile

Including because our guy learned to never put it that way again. grin
It will serve him well.
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#1765507 - 10/05/11 10:44 PM Re: How do I become an amateur piano teacher? [Re: Mark_C]
Morodiene Offline
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Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Originally Posted By: ten left thumbs
I think we need to get past this word 'amateur'. it was not meant in the way it has been interpreted....

Yes -- but it was important not to get past it till it was dealt with. smile

Including because our guy learned to never put it that way again. grin
It will serve him well.


I guess it's because when you're a "pro", being called an "amateur" is the worst insult. smile
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#1765541 - 10/05/11 11:24 PM Re: How do I become an amateur piano teacher? [Re: M. Phillip R.]
keystring Online   content
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Isn't it worse when people present themselves as pro, it means they get to ask for the same perks, but then they act amateurishly?

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#1765600 - 10/06/11 02:24 AM Re: How do I become an amateur piano teacher? [Re: keystring]
Mark_C Online   content
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Originally Posted By: keystring
Isn't it worse when people present themselves as pro, it means they get to ask for the same perks, but then they act amateurishly?

Hard to say which is worse.
Case-by-case basis, I guess.
Let someone like that come here and do that, and then we'll see how it compares. grin
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#1765605 - 10/06/11 02:47 AM Re: How do I become an amateur piano teacher? [Re: Mark_C]
landorrano Offline
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Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2472
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Originally Posted By: ten left thumbs
I think we need to get past this word 'amateur'. it was not meant in the way it has been interpreted....

Yes -- but it was important not to get past it till it was dealt with. smile

Including because our guy learned to never put it that way again. grin
It will serve him well.


What fluff. "Our guy" was easy to understand from his first post. "It will serve him well" ... what fluff !

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#1765609 - 10/06/11 03:09 AM Re: How do I become an amateur piano teacher? [Re: landorrano]
Gary D. Online   content
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Registered: 08/30/08
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Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: landorrano

What fluff. "Our guy" was easy to understand from his first post. "It will serve him well" ... what fluff !

I think I agree with you here. I see such incredible incompetence daily. My wife is not a musician, but music teachers come to HER to ask her what they should use to teach their beginner students.

I see people who know nothing, charging money, and they do tremendous damage. I wish the OP best of luck. He may may end up being a really fine teacher. I think we should give him more support and less flack. wink
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#1765620 - 10/06/11 03:55 AM Re: How do I become an amateur piano teacher? [Re: Morodiene]
ten left thumbs Offline
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Registered: 05/22/09
Posts: 3336
Loc: Scotland
Originally Posted By: Morodiene


I guess it's because when you're a "pro", being called an "amateur" is the worst insult. smile


It is, and it has been taken so. But no one ever said, 'you're an amateur!'.

The original intent, from what I understand, was to respect the fact that there are professionals out there, and understand that a person starting from scratch is not a 'professional.'

Anyone taking this as a personal insult needs to ask themselves why they feel so defensive.

To the OP: have you had a sufficient discussion of your original question?
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#1765655 - 10/06/11 05:54 AM Re: How do I become an amateur piano teacher? [Re: ten left thumbs]
M. Phillip R. Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/20/11
Posts: 10
Loc: Texas
Originally Posted By: ten left thumbs
[quote=Morodiene]


To the OP: have you had a sufficient discussion of your original question?



Yep, I sure have. I've still been lurking around to read the banter. This is a great community. I plan to lurk much in the future.


:lurks:

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#1765749 - 10/06/11 10:27 AM Re: How do I become an amateur piano teacher? [Re: ten left thumbs]
Morodiene Offline
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Originally Posted By: ten left thumbs
Originally Posted By: Morodiene


I guess it's because when you're a "pro", being called an "amateur" is the worst insult. smile


It is, and it has been taken so. But no one ever said, 'you're an amateur!'.

The original intent, from what I understand, was to respect the fact that there are professionals out there, and understand that a person starting from scratch is not a 'professional.'

Anyone taking this as a personal insult needs to ask themselves why they feel so defensive.

To the OP: have you had a sufficient discussion of your original question?


I didn't say I was offended or anyone was, but I was pointing out that the word "amateur" has negative connotations in the professional community. Therefore, am "amateur teacher" is taken with a lot of baggage just because of that word.

I have been encouraging of the OP and simply pointed out to him not to use that terminology with regards to himself because of the connotations that were obviously unintentional on his part.
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#1765758 - 10/06/11 10:48 AM Re: How do I become an amateur piano teacher? [Re: M. Phillip R.]
ten left thumbs Offline
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Yes, Morodiene, I understand that and I was agreeing with you. smile
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#1765845 - 10/06/11 01:16 PM Re: How do I become an amateur piano teacher? [Re: landorrano]
Mark_C Online   content
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Originally Posted By: landorrano
What fluff....

You sure you didn't say that just because it was me who has said the other thing? grin

Anyway....do you want to say you don't think it would have been a problem for him to have kept thinking of it and expressing it as he had put it? (I don't mean just here, I mean out there.)

You make it appear that you don't think that would have been a problem for him.
If so, you are wrong. grin

If not, then you were wrong about my post.

Thank you very much. ha


GaryD: I'm not sure you knew fully what you were agreeing with. smile
Maybe take another look.
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#1765888 - 10/06/11 02:52 PM Re: How do I become an amateur piano teacher? [Re: Mark_C]
Gary D. Online   content
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Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4814
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: Mark_C

GaryD: I'm not sure you knew fully what you were agreeing with. smile
Maybe take another look.

Mark,

I looked late at night and made a quick comment. It was careless and not thought out. I think I was more thinking out loud than directly responding to any one person. The OP seemed like a passionate person and might become a far better teacher than many I have seen.

But as always we don't really know anything important, and it's so easy to jump to conclusions.

Since everyone has to start teaching at some point, it's really a hard call to attempt to define exactly when the right time is. It is inevitable that *all* of us will make serious blunders in the beginning, no matter how much preparation we have, so I'm frankly not entirely sure how I feel about this whole topic.

On one one hand I shudder when I think of what I was like as a beginning teacher.

On the other hand, I believe I needed every experience I went through to have reached where I am right now. (Other people may not respect where I am right now, for all I know...)

If I sound like I am on the fence, I am. I know there are horrendous teachers out there, and I fear most of them are already as good as they will ever be. Perhaps that is what disturbs *me* the most. But those horrible teachers don't come places like here, asking questions and making a big effort to find their weaknesses and become better.

Or at least it appears so to me... smile


Edited by Gary D. (10/06/11 02:54 PM)
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#1766098 - 10/06/11 08:33 PM Re: How do I become an amateur piano teacher? [Re: Gary D.]
Mark_C Online   content
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The prime issue wasn't what you talked about, but his use of the word "amateur," regarding both how it sounds (to a lot of people, although obviously not to everyone, as we're seeing here) and his conceptualization of what he's doing.

That was the only thing that I meant in my post that Landorrano replied to, and (presumably, if he understood my post correctly) what he was talking about (and which he was wrong about) grin and which you thought you were agreeing with.

Thanks for your clarifying post.
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#1766103 - 10/06/11 08:41 PM Re: How do I become an amateur piano teacher? [Re: Mark_C]
Morodiene Offline
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Originally Posted By: Mark_C
The prime issue wasn't what you talked about, but his use of the word "amateur," regarding both how it sounds (to a lot of people, although obviously not to everyone, as we're seeing here) and his conceptualization of what he's doing.

That was the only thing that I meant in my post that Landorrano replied to, and (presumably, if he understood my post correctly) what he was talking about (and which he was wrong about) grin and which you thought you were agreeing with.

Thanks for your clarifying post.

Hahah, clear as mud! laugh
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#1766106 - 10/06/11 08:49 PM Re: How do I become an amateur piano teacher? [Re: Morodiene]
Mark_C Online   content
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Originally Posted By: Morodiene
Hahah, clear as mud! laugh

ha

I appreciated just that he said he hadn't necessarily known exactly what he was agreeing with. smile
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#1766108 - 10/06/11 08:50 PM Re: How do I become an amateur piano teacher? [Re: M. Phillip R.]
LeaC Offline
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Registered: 09/13/11
Posts: 413
Loc: USA
Oh, what the heck. I might as well spill the beans while we're at it. There is a divide between the educational people and the performance people. While it needn't be true, sometimes it is. To me, performance is the basis, then pedagogy. Now, I have dedicated my life to good teaching, and I believe I have been successful in that endeavor, but, nonetheless, I stress performance.

In regard to the comment that all novice teachers use method books, I beg to differ. It may be wise to start beginners in a good method book, particularly if they are very young. But my students did quite well with pieces that I composed for them, and with books similar to Suzanne Guy's Expressive Etudes, which start at a very elementary level.

Further, I tended to piece together material from various method books that had the types of pieces I wanted for my student.

My comments are based on what I can gather from the OP. There is some good advise here, plus, there is a wealth of information at this persons fingertips that many teachers don't have when starting. There's a lot here to start with. We all dread the beginning teacher who has little idea of what they are doing. That's awful. transfer students say it all.
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