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#937255 - 10/10/04 05:09 PM Advice On How to Start Teaching Piano
Vangirl Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/10/04
Posts: 2
Loc: Vancouver
I'm 23 years old and I've been playing the piano since I was 5. I went through the RCM program and completed up to the Grade 10 level. I was working on my A.R.C.T. teacher's level, but never finished it. I've also completed the theory, harmony, and history components of the RCM program. While I was studying A.R.C.T., I also received lessons on teaching pedagogy and had the opportunity to give some lessons to my teacher's young beginner students. That was 5 years ago.

Right now, I've just completed my Bachelor of Education and I'm looking for a teaching job in a high school...with no luck. I would like to start teaching piano privately, beginner's level. I live in Vancouver, Canada and would like some advice/tips on getting started. And where should I look for students? Thanks.

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#937256 - 10/11/04 01:22 AM Re: Advice On How to Start Teaching Piano
Deutsch Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/15/04
Posts: 14
Loc: Germany
I never had to advertise -- Piano teachers are in such demand where I lived, word of mouth was enough. Got my first student when my sons' teacher was moving, and called and asked if I'd teach this young girl who was in my neighborhood. I don't even have a degree in music. From there it snowballed. I got a reputation for being good with young students, and had a long waiting list when I moved away.

I found my sons a new teacher by calling the Music Teachers' Association in the area, so I would recommend joining a similar group in your town. Also, visit the local elementary schools and ask to talk with the music teachers there. Parents who are looking for teachers often ask the school's music teacher for names. Give her business cards to hand out for you.

Also leave cards at your local music store. (Unless they have an inhouse studio and don't want the competition.)

Be ready with info when folks call, so you sound organized. People always want to know first how much, how long, recitals?, and get some sense of if you'll be good with their kid. Think through ahead of time what you'll do about missed lessons, summers, buying materials, etc. Saves trouble later on.

Good luck! You sound well qualified. I love teaching and really miss it. -- Ms. Deutsch

#937257 - 10/11/04 11:08 AM Re: Advice On How to Start Teaching Piano
cranky woman Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/06/04
Posts: 282
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
Like Ms. Deutsch, I've never had to advertise either. I've found that the best way to get new students is to get involved in you local Music Teacher's Association. There are always teachers in these organizations that have full studios and may want to refer students to you.

You may want to observe other teachers teaching to get ideas of how to handle certain types of students, fees, methods,teaching styles, etc. In my early years of teaching, this was one of the best tools I found to help me in my teaching. After observing many teachers, I was able to find one that became my mentor and then she passed on students to me when her studio was full.

You do sound very qualified, just remember that when teaching beginning students it is imperative to teach them to LOVE music, have fun, yet still expect quality.

Good luck!

Cranky Woman

#937258 - 10/11/04 11:17 AM Re: Advice On How to Start Teaching Piano
divadeb Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/04
Posts: 677
Leave your name and contact information with all the school music teachers in your area (public and private schools). Very often, parents will ask a school teacher to reccommend a private instructor. You could also find out what publications are available to homeschool kids in your area. You might be able to put an inexpensive ad in one of their newsletters.

All you need is one or two...do a good job with them and the rest will follow. Good teachers aren't that easy to find.
Never try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and annoys the pig.


#937259 - 10/11/04 11:19 AM Re: Advice On How to Start Teaching Piano
divadeb Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/04
Posts: 677
(it would help if I had read all of the previous posts in this thread before responding to the question...duh...ignore what I said \:\) )
Never try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and annoys the pig.


#937260 - 10/12/04 12:47 PM Re: Advice On How to Start Teaching Piano
Vangirl Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/10/04
Posts: 2
Loc: Vancouver
Thanks for the advice posted. I think I'm gonna sit down this week and really plan out what my policies are gonna be, which method/series I'll be using, etc. After I've got the basic plan, I'm gonna contact school music teachers like you suggested.

Two more questions. One question I have is that since I don't have a degree in music and I haven't been teaching for several years, I can't join the local music teacher's association...from your experience, how do teachers from those groups feel when a new teacher like me contacts them?

Second, when I am "advertising", putting up flyers, should I write that I'm a new teacher or just give them my background in piano? Or just advertise for piano lessons and wait till they phone me to let them know that I'm a new teacher?

Thanks for all your help.

#937261 - 10/13/04 05:49 AM Re: Advice On How to Start Teaching Piano
Deutsch Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/15/04
Posts: 14
Loc: Germany
I didn't join the MTA either, so I can't answer your first question. But my own experience is that, since you only want beginners, the school teachers are really the way to go. Most parents looking for piano teachers for beginners don't know enough to contact the MTA. Instead, they ask friends, school teachers, etc.

Re: Second question -- I don't think you need to spell it out on the flyer; wait till they call. Be honest, but don't sell yourself short! You do have a degree in teaching, after all! And you have a lengthy music background! Make your statements positive: I am going to teach piano because I love piano and love teaching. (As opposed to I am going to teach piano because I can't get any other job.) Be positive on your flyer, too: New piano teacher in area now accepting beginning students!

I also suggest writing down your policies and giving people a written copy - maybe at your first "introductory" lesson. In the same book that I keep track of income and expenses for taxes, I also keep track of when I give out any notices, new music, etc. I keep each student on a separate page, and of course, note things like payments, skipped lessons, and so on. It's my documentation for anything!

One other thought: I worked as a subsitute teacher for awhile. The band director was thrilled to have a sub who could actually read music. And he ended up sending his son to me for lessons.

#937262 - 10/14/04 01:35 PM Re: Advice On How to Start Teaching Piano
cranky woman Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/06/04
Posts: 282
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
As a member of MTNA, which is a US organization, I know that not all chapters require a degree in music. I also know that the demographics are changing in this industry and that there are fewer and fewer students majoring in music. With that said, most organizations would be thrilled to have someone of your training to use as a resource. I for one, would be happy to be approached by a fellow teacher. We're all in this together!

Regarding the second question, if you do advertise, be brief and be prepared to sell yourself when you receive calls. It is helpful to have a written policy letter for your studio to mail to parents, so that they know exactly what to expect.

Then set up an interview to make sure that the personalities "mesh".

Good Luck!

Cranky woman

#937263 - 10/18/04 07:58 PM Re: Advice On How to Start Teaching Piano
opus119 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/15/03
Posts: 319
Piano teachers who perform (sometimes?) how important is it?

#937264 - 10/24/04 06:57 AM Re: Advice On How to Start Teaching Piano
markjpcs Offline

Registered: 08/31/04
Posts: 3170
Loc: Wisconsin
Originally posted by opus119:
Piano teachers who perform (sometimes?) how important is it? [/b]
I am not a teacher except for my own children as a reenforcement but I am also a student and my opinion is that it is very important for an intermediate to advanced student.

It is not as important for beginners, but the teacher should refer their students to a more advanced, performing teacher as soon as the basics are mastered. I would say after the first 3 or 4 years if the student is practicing daily and showing good progress.

I basically forced this issue with our teacher at the beginning if this year. The progress that both of us have made since moving to the new performing teacher is astonishing.

Just as players have different abilities, so do teachers. It would be nice if, as a teacher one would recognize one's limitations and make referrals for students who have advanced beyond the teacher's ability to keep them advancing at the same pace.

This is only anecdotal evidence based on my experience. I will not state flat out that this is the way it should be for all. I am sure there are excellent teachers for advanced players who do not perform and I do not want to offend those teachers.
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#937265 - 10/31/04 07:45 PM Re: Advice On How to Start Teaching Piano
PianoMum9 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/19/04
Posts: 19
Loc: Surrey, BC
I also live in the Greater Vancouver area. You can only join the RMT w/o a degree if you are studying w/ a teacher in the group. There is a very active, helpful "Student Teacher" group in the Surrey 'chapter' if you fall in that category.
Good luck.


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