I want to start teaching piano as a "new chapter" in my life

Posted by: indigo_dave

I want to start teaching piano as a "new chapter" in my life - 11/26/12 12:55 PM

I plan on what I'm calling semi-retirement in about 2 1/2 years. I majored in music in college. Then ended up making my living in other ways. I've cultivated my piano skills all through my adult life. But rather than play the diet heavy in Bach and Beethoven I've taught myself to play jazz with a fake book, a lot of listening, and a lot of trial and error.

So I want to teach piano about 8-12 hours per week. I also want to spend 4 hours per day working on music (outside of teaching) by writing and playing it. I also currently play through some of the "Songs Without Words" by Mendelssohn. I may pursue an advanced degree if I can find something appealing and with a significant portion done online. This would be in maybe jazz studies with some composition.

All of this explanation was to give a little background about myself. I'm looking for advice regarding how I should start this pursuit - teaching that is. Method book series to work from, and any other advice some of you might have.

Any advice is appreciated.

Thanks,

David
Posted by: rocket88

Re: I want to start teaching piano as a "new chapter" in my life - 11/26/12 01:35 PM

Teaching is an art and a skill, regardless of the topic.

Have you had any teaching experience? You don't mention any, and one of the big problems in the piano teaching world is for people who can play to therefore think that they can teach.

To teach correctly, you have to put yourself in the mindset of someone who knows absolutely nothing about the topic, and carefully build a solid foundation of information, in a logical sequence.

A good example of bad teaching is found in many software and pc hardware manuals.

These are written by geeks, who know everything about the topic, and many times they fail to start at ground zero and build from there. Instead, they start at about the 2nd floor and nobody knows what they are talking about. Which is why so many "__________for Idiots" books exist on those topics.

For example, I have a Roland rd700gx stage piano. One of the basic things people want to do is "save a setup", i.e. be able to push a button and the board calls up exactly the configuration of that setup, such as piano layered with horns, volumes set at whatever, etc.

The owners manual is so convoluted and scattered on that and other topics, (written by geeks, NOT teachers) that finally someone from Roland tech support got tired of repeatedly answering this very basic question, and had to post a homemade video shot with a phone that walks thru the steps to create a setup.

This is somewhat of a rant, and I apologize in advance if it does not apply to you. However I have suffered under "teachers" who thought that knowing the subject was good enough to then teach it, and walked out of class with my head spinning. And I have had plenty of transfer students from other piano teachers, and many of those students admit that they had never been taught some essentials; Theory, How to Practice, and Technique top that list.

So that is the bottom line...you know music and piano, but can you explain it clearly and in a pedagogically sound way that creates good players?

I wish you well, and if you specialize in Jazz, there should be a market for that, because many teachers only know classical or pop.


Posted by: Jim Frazee

Re: I want to start teaching piano as a "new chapter" in my life - 11/26/12 05:24 PM

ID,

Look over some method books - there are hundreds of them. Then look at pedagogy books in the Frances Clark library here:
https://www.francesclarkcenter.org/shop?product_category=Books, particularly her book "Questions and Answers" and A Piano Teacher's Legacy: Selected Writings by Richard Chronister. These are both great reads, especially now, before you start. Decide what ages and levels you'd like to teach, your home or theirs, etc. With a couple of years to decide, you can have a great headstart! Good luck!
Posted by: Minniemay

Re: I want to start teaching piano as a "new chapter" in my life - 11/26/12 07:43 PM

I second everything Rocket88 has said. You have 2.5 years -- if you want to teach, use that time to get prepared by taking a pedagogy class or apprenticing with a local teacher (one that has a good reputation). Teaching is harder than you think!
Posted by: Peter K. Mose

Re: I want to start teaching piano as a "new chapter" in my life - 11/26/12 10:19 PM

Try to take some piano pedagogy class at a local college or conservatory. It might be good, it might be so-so, it might be poor, but in any case it will get you thinking about the teaching end of piano playing. There are also a few online pedagogy classes you can find. And yes, buy a couple of texts on piano teaching even if you don't take a class.

Then just start teaching. You might have a great aptitude for it, and wish you had done this sooner. I'd say take on a student or two right now, and just warn them you're a beginner at this. Could be fun.
Posted by: Morodiene

Re: I want to start teaching piano as a "new chapter" in my life - 11/27/12 08:12 AM

Also read through this post : Teaching, some questions
as there is a lot of great advice in there that would be helpful.
Posted by: indigo_dave

Re: I want to start teaching piano as a "new chapter" in my life - 11/28/12 07:48 PM

Thanks for the suggestions from everyone. I found a book by James Bastien that was well reviewed by users. I'll probably order it. Also I'm going to look into teaching a couple of hours on Saturdays as a beginning. I'll also check out the "Teaching, some questions".

I don't expect to ever be qualified to coach someone in late Beethoven sonatas, but I know I can be a good teacher by becoming aware of certain principles. Also, I remember some of the "lightbulb moments" in my life. I want to the practice of playing by ear. It was pretty much ignored in my formal training.
Posted by: Minniemay

Re: I want to start teaching piano as a "new chapter" in my life - 11/28/12 08:31 PM

I personally think that Bastien book is not worth the money.
Posted by: Peter K. Mose

Re: I want to start teaching piano as a "new chapter" in my life - 11/29/12 01:10 PM

Dave, I think you'll do well at teaching. Despite Minnie's disapproval, your Bastien book will do fine as a reference. I have found it very helpful, and worth every nickel.
Posted by: Piano Again

Re: I want to start teaching piano as a "new chapter" in my life - 11/30/12 12:20 PM

I'm kind of in the same place in life -- music degree, day job I can't wait to "retire" from, wanting to spend more of my time with music. My experience and credentials are all with the cello; I don't feel qualified (or moved, for that matter) to teach piano, at least not yet. I have taught the cello in the past and currently have one adult student, so I'm hoping to expand on that and see where it goes. But it's daunting; there's so much to learn, and you want to feel like you're offering something of value. I don't have any advice; just wanted to commiserate (if that's the right word).
Posted by: Piano*Dad

Re: I want to start teaching piano as a "new chapter" in my life - 11/30/12 12:36 PM

David,

You haven't mentioned yet (as far as I can see) whether you will be aiming to teach kids or adults. That matters.
Posted by: Bluoh

Re: I want to start teaching piano as a "new chapter" in my life - 11/30/12 02:35 PM

Who are you trying to teach? Young kids, teens, working adults, seniors, etc?
Posted by: indigo_dave

Re: I want to start teaching piano as a "new chapter" in my life - 12/01/12 10:48 PM

I contacted a new local music school. He's willing to meet me, wants to hear me play, show me around their facility and so on. He's willing to use me for just a couple of hours on Saturdays if something apropos pops up. So I guess I'd try to work with whatever comes through the door.

I'd actually thought I'd like to teach adults. But whatever experience I'm able to get at this point is to the good.