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Topic Options
#951057 - 06/06/08 01:00 AM Piano Teacher Credentials
trillingadventurer Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/28/08
Posts: 304
Loc: San Diego
I am a piano teacher and have been doing this since I was 15. (Now I'm 34) What do you think is the best route for bolstering my skills? I have a BA in Psychology with no formal music classes under my belt (Lots of private instruction over the years). Should I:

Join MTA as a provisional member?
Get another degree in Music?
Get a another degree in piano pedagogy?
Further study under another teacher who is more experienced.

Anybody else in the same boat?
_________________________
M. Katchur

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#951058 - 06/06/08 09:42 AM Re: Piano Teacher Credentials
Stanny Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/08/06
Posts: 1461
I'm in a similar boat. Although I was on a 4 year music scholarship, I switched majors my 3rd year and majored in Computer Science.

Right now I'm a member of MTNA, and I'm planning to work toward Certification. There is an online way to prep http://www.vcsu.edu/academics/divisions/finearts/music-dept/vp.htm?p=1201 .
_________________________
~Stanny~

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

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#951059 - 06/06/08 10:03 AM Re: Piano Teacher Credentials
Varcon Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/15/04
Posts: 1931
Loc: Mount Vernon, Georgia 30445
Teaching piano is not a regulated area like some others so unqualified, charlatans, etc., can hang a shingle for students. Many parents and students do not know what to look for. Many teachers who are privately trained are excellent because they had good instruction and are able to pass that on.

A degree from a prestigious institution doesn't guarantee great ability tho it is some assurance that the teacher has passed the guided instruction offered. Quality of instruction varies from one school to another and the industriousness of the student also makes a difference.

I've had about 30 different teachers in my musical peregrinations with about 4 really good ones and the others mediocre at best or down right lousy.

But some kind of questions should definitely be put to prospective teacher and I'm sure other posters will give you suggested questions.

One of my teachers, Leon Rosenbloom at the Sherwood School in Chicago, told me at one lesson to go to a recital of the teacher or the students and see how they perform. The proof is in the performance as that is the result of the instruction. When one finds satisfactory recitals or teacher performances the student will
most likely make good progress if enrolled with that teacher.

Some kind of certification is always a boost to reputation--a degree, certificate, artists diploma, etc. If you feel you need it then investigate possibilities of colleges and universities in your area. If you take lessons there you can be working toward a degree and your publicity can include that you are studying with Professor ?????? at University of ?????. The fact that you are continuing your education should be a boone to your status in the community.

While I have a doctoral degree my best instruction came not from the instructors at the institutions but from my private teachers (the four or so mentioned previously). In performing it's the ability to actually DO rather than have paper that says you can and perhaps it isn't quite right? \:\)

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#951060 - 06/06/08 10:12 AM Re: Piano Teacher Credentials
Karisofia Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/13/08
Posts: 201
Loc: Wisconsin
I think it's both wonderful that you've been teaching and that you're considering getting some credentials. I bet your psychology degree comes in useful at times! ;\)

Definitely join MTNA. You won't be a provisional member. It will be an important part of your continuing education. I have a music degree but have learned more about teaching from the articles and sessions through that organization.

All of your other options are excellent ones. Certification through MTNA is a great step. (It's on my to-do list at this time.) There is also a diploma program available through the National Music Certificate Program . This does not supply the classes themselves but rather a set of standards to study towards. If nothing else, you can buy the syllabus for the general structure and the bibliography.

Keep us posted!
_________________________
Private Teacher
Member MTNA, WMTA, CVMTA
Local Association President
The Achievement Program Center Representative

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#951061 - 06/06/08 10:31 AM Re: Piano Teacher Credentials
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11856
Loc: Canada
As a student I would like my teacher to have mastered what he is teaching, and also to have a clear idea on how to teach. The idea of studying with an excellent teacher appeals to me. If that teacher knows you wish to teach, he would guide you, share his knowledge. I would have confidence studying with a new teacher who had done this.

I understand that the MTNA is supportive in many ways to all levels of teachers. This part is beyond my rhealm as a student.

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#951062 - 06/06/08 10:32 AM Re: Piano Teacher Credentials
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7418
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Hi trillingadventurer and welcome to the teachers' forum!

Just to expand and piggy back a little on what has already been said, it seems to me that the ingredients for being a good teacher are:

- knowledge of subject matter
- teaching skills

You can improve the former by subscribing to professional journals and reading them (of course). That would be for us in the USA, Clavier magazine, Keyboard Companion, and the MTNA Journal which comes free with membership in MTNA.

There are numerous books on both piano technique and teaching, which should be digested over time. For teaching, Francis Clark's Q&A and Richard Chronister's A Piano Teacher's Legacy, are two excellent books for starters.

Observing Master Classes, focusing on the teacher's techniques, will also help you greatly.

Improving your knowledge of subject matter can be accomplished by continued study on your part. Attending national piano teaching conferences, such as the annual MTNA conference, the biennial National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy, and my personal favorite, the annual World Piano Pedagogy Conference (I find this helps me both with subject matter and teaching skills).

Hope this helps some.

John
_________________________
"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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#951063 - 06/06/08 12:14 PM Re: Piano Teacher Credentials
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
trillingadventurer,

Subscribe and read the magazines John recommends, they are the best in contemporary piano teaching. The MTNA magazine is called "American Music Teacher" and is part of your membership.

I think you should join MTNA and look at the Certification possibilities (must be completed in 2 years once you start the process) and take a serious look at the program in South Dakota that Stanny recommends. It is possible to study on your own, or participate in a group learning situation, but I think very often things get missed in a certification class that is thrown together without a pedagogue at the helm. The college class in South Dakota would be my choice.

And, many teachers use an evaluation by adjucators for their students progress. Karisofia mentions that, and there are others as well.

Consider private lessons with someone you have respect for and can work with.

Keep posting and reading here!

Get yourself into the music magazines with a yellow highlighter, some post-it-tabs, and a pad and pen for taking notes.

Get to work! Go! Do! ;\)

Betty

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#951064 - 06/07/08 05:36 PM Re: Piano Teacher Credentials
cjp_piano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/23/08
Posts: 202
Loc: Cincinnati OH
I agree with everything that's been said. Definitely join MTNA, which will automatically include a subscription to American Music Teacher =)

I'm about to take my certification exam, wish me luck!
_________________________
MTNA Nationally Certified Teacher of Music, Piano
Instructor of Music Theory, Accompanist
Member: MTNA, OhioMTA, SW District OhioMTA
www.mtna.org
www.ohiomta.org
www.swomta.org

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#951065 - 06/07/08 07:11 PM Re: Piano Teacher Credentials
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
To Clinton,



Betty

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#951066 - 06/09/08 10:09 PM Re: Piano Teacher Credentials
Stanny Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/08/06
Posts: 1461
Yes, good luck Clinton!
_________________________
~Stanny~

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

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#951067 - 06/09/08 10:31 PM Re: Piano Teacher Credentials
Akira Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/27/07
Posts: 1645
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
Good luck, Clinton.

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#951068 - 06/13/08 04:16 PM Re: Piano Teacher Credentials
trillingadventurer Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/28/08
Posts: 304
Loc: San Diego
Thanks everyone! I will look into provisional membership.
_________________________
M. Katchur

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#951069 - 06/13/08 04:38 PM Re: Piano Teacher Credentials
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
trillingadventurer,

Please tell me what provisional membership is?

I have not heard that term before.

Thanks.

Betty

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#951070 - 06/15/08 12:28 AM Re: Piano Teacher Credentials
pianobuff Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 1580
Loc: Pacific Northwest
Betty,

Provisional membership means that a teacher that has taught a minimum of 2 years, that does not have a formal degree in music, can become a member of MTNA and state branch, provisionally, while he/she either gets a degree in music or shows his/her ability to play at a certain level or shows that a certain many of his/her students have passed specific levels of their state syllabus program. After one of these three things are accomplished the members status changes from "provisional" to "active."

These are the guidlines, anyways, for our state branch that is affiliated with the MTNA in regards to membership. It may be different in other states.


Clinton,
Best of luck to you too! I enjoyed watching your Barber duet as well!
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher,
member MTNA and Piano Basics Foundation

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#951071 - 06/15/08 04:15 AM Re: Piano Teacher Credentials
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12227
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
I also have never heard of a provisional membership. Clinton, if you feel that you are lacking in something and can afford it, then go for the pedagogy degree. However, I think getting certified may be a bit more practical. Degrees require a lot of extra classes that do not apply directly to your major (liberal arts requirements), and while they may be interesting, will cost you a lot of money just to get that piece of paper. Depending on the school, you may not need your undergraduate degree in Music in order to get into their Master's program. Why not look into getting a Master's in piano pedagogy somewhere? You wouldn't have to worry about all those liberal arts requirements in that case.

You will learn a lot from simply being in MTNA. Also, do you subscribe to Keyboard Companion and Clavier magazines? I find those (more so KC) to be extremely helpful in practical information.
_________________________
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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#951072 - 06/15/08 11:31 AM Re: Piano Teacher Credentials
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Thanks PianoBuff,

It would be good to discuss states requirements sometime. Washington State does not have any provisions like this, I don't believe.

I understand why that might have to happen because there are so many in the teaching field who are unprepared to teach and know just enough to be dangerous. (Sorry if anyone takes offense.)

At the same time, there are many who would learn and join MTNA and their states local chapter where they can become better teachers and get educational and social support in their on-going education.

At one time, our chapter called new members (regardless of any degrees) and "Associate" member which was a title for one or two years (I'm not sure which) while the new member got acquainted with the chapter and it's bylaws, organization and what the chapter, state and national offer. After becoming a full member they could vote and hold office.

Presser started MTNA by encouraging every one who was a piano teacher and that was a wonderful happening in the first place.

In my opinion we should encourage those without credentials to join and to do their best in pursuit of education. I know a number of piano teachers who are avid members, have increasingly grown to new heights in musicianship, and it happens through the joint efforts of the members in the chapter and the programs given that this is possible.

Does provisional work for everyone? Is the timeline adequate, or are members terminated by the state MTA for not reaching the terms of the provision. Does MTNA have a comment on these restrictions?

Very interesting.

Betty

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#951073 - 06/15/08 06:13 PM Re: Piano Teacher Credentials
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5598
Loc: Orange County, CA
Well, when I first joined MTAC, I joined as an Active Member. I have already gotten my degree plus two years of full-time teaching before I applied. However, people can apply for Student Membership while in still school, and can apply for Provisional Membership for three years if they choose not to go the degree route.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#951074 - 06/17/08 10:22 PM Re: Piano Teacher Credentials
pianobuff Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 1580
Loc: Pacific Northwest
Yes, there is a timeline in being a provisional member and I think it is two years.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher,
member MTNA and Piano Basics Foundation

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#951075 - 06/18/08 01:09 AM Re: Piano Teacher Credentials
dumdumdiddle Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 1267
Loc: California
I just saw this thread and noticed that the OP lives in California. While MTNA is THE organization to join in other states, Californians can choose MTAC or MTNA (or both). MTAC is really big here, with about 4500 members statewide.

You can join as 'active' if you have a music degree. If you don't have a music degree you may still be able to join under a 'points system', where points are given for various things such as college music classes taken, private piano lessons from 11th grade on, any workshops attended, recitals given, number of years teaching experience, etc... You have to document everything, which can be difficult, especially if a lot of time has passed. If you don't have enough points to qualify for active membership, you can apply for provisional membership.

Provisional members may be lacking a music degree or teaching experience, or a combination of both. You have a certain number of years to become active and get more 'points', depending on what you are deficient in. You can enter students in events while working towards active membership.

When teachers don't have the required college courses (music theory, piano ped, music history) for active membership, they can choose to take those at a local college or apply for the self-study program called Cal Plan. You study the areas that you are deficient in, take a test, and achieve membership that way. (There's also a performance requirement).

You can go the MTAC website for more detailed info:

www.mtac.org
_________________________
Music School Owner
Early Childhood Music Teacher/Group Piano Teacher/Private Piano Teacher
Member of MTAC and Guild

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#951076 - 06/19/08 12:29 AM Re: Piano Teacher Credentials
YadielOmar Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/08/05
Posts: 66
Loc: P.R.
Wow, first time I've ever heard of the MTNA. I have a question; I have more than two years of experience teaching piano, but I don't have a degree, how do I at least get a provisional certification?

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#951077 - 06/19/08 08:54 AM Re: Piano Teacher Credentials
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12227
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
YadielOmar: that depends on where you are located, to a certain extent. Are you in the US? I suggest going to MNTA and locating a chapter nearest you to contact someone and find out more about the organization. You can also peruse their website as well. I'm not sure of the requirements for those without a degree, but I recall joining before I had completed my degree, so it may be different in each state. www.mtna.org is the website.
_________________________
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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