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Joined: Oct 2009
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Canonie Offline OP
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I sometimes wonder how many others became a piano teacher by accident. I'd spent years (decades!) without any instruments, in a different career. One day began dabbling with a short toy keyboard... sometime later decided to study music.

One day someone I knew asked if I could help a young person with reading, theory and aural (for exams). HOping I knew enough, I did my best and started to enjoy myself. It was a few years later that I tried teaching piano.

Anyway, someone recently sent me the link to this video of "my first student" which is not strictly true - I only helped with a few things for a few exams. But it's such a nice australian video that I'd like to share it smile

That first student is now playing...


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Thanks for sharing - beautiful. I love cello. Wish I would have learned cello - but not even sure I'd ever heard of a cello as a child.

I am definitely a piano teacher by accident. My children all played other instruments (in addition to piano), for which I would occasionally accompany them. My daughter played violin. When I accompanied her at a school talent show, I met another parent/child duo - also piano and violin. That mother was a piano teacher, and when my sons' teacher quit teaching, she became their teacher. Then she moved away, and helped us find a new teacher for my sons. But one day she called me and asked me if I would be willing to take on a single student of hers. The child was 5, a new beginner. The teacher was having a hard time finding someone "gentle enough" for her, and thought I'd be a good option.

My entire studio grew from that one student, by word of mouth. I've never advertised.


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Hi Canonie, thanks for this topic.

I worked in the health field for 20 years, mostly in education. Worked as health educator in an elementary school, then taught health related classes in a community college. It occurred to me that I love teaching, but if only I could teach something I'm actually interested in! (I had been interested in health for many years, but interest had waned.)I also saw that I have a strong preference for one to one teaching.

For the last 18 years I've been practicing music one hour daily. I had played and performed with harp for 12 years. Had begun to lose enthusiasm for harp and took violin lessons, performing with an open band for contra dances. Still wasn't it for me though.

Then 4 years ago at a neighbor's party, a stranger suggested that I have my son take piano lessons and not to wait since he was already 10. (He'd had a little violin and guitar already.) So I promoted the idea to my husband and we went to purchase a piano. In the store I got all choked up and it took all my effort to hold back tears. All this emotion came up for me. Not sure why. I had hated piano lessons as a child. Decided it was party due to having a crappy piano back then.

Anyway as I was journaling, I allowed myself to write what I would really like. And that was to teach piano. I got started by teaching my son, a 65 year old friend, and a friend's son who has attention deficit. A mentor came my way and this forum has been helpful. Then a year after starting, I had my first Chinese young beginner (through an ad on Craigslist) and word quickly spread after that. I seem to be the teacher to go to for young beginners.

After 2 years working with a mentor, I spent 2 years working on my own. Now I'm working with a teacher again.

Last edited by Ann in Kentucky; 07/18/11 01:00 PM.
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My teacher began to take me under her "teacher mentor" wing when I was about 14. She then referred me to teach at a local music shop...I think I made $10/hour which were amazing wages for a kid my age back then....Teaching came easy to me but it faded into the background as sports, school and traveling took over my life.

After college I had my sights set on Medical School. I was gearing up to take my pre-medical classes but still needed some sort of job to get me by. Thankfully I was living with my sister rent-free at the time so I could really take my time.

I applied to waitress at a local french restaurant. The owner looked at my resume and asked me if I was interested in trading piano lessons for free meals in his upscale restaurant. I was back in the teaching saddle after a 7 year break. My teaching skills were rusty but I had been diligently keeping up with my piano so I was quite a bit more advanced at 21.

About a week later as I sat enjoying some beef bourguignon and a glass of Pinot Noir, I began to wonder if perhaps I had "arrived" at my dream job already.

The following week I got a call from a woman who was interested in me teaching her daughter. I arrived at their house and sat down at a piano that overlooked down-town San Diego. The mom offered me a cup of tea while I explored the piano with her daughter. I left her house feeling happy, inspired, fulfilled.

(As you can all see I am easily persuaded with food and drink....)

Another week rolled by and suddenly I got 10 calls in one day. Apparently a local piano teacher had retired and word got out that I was teaching and coming to student homes.

That core group sprouted into a full time gig and permanently resurrected my passion in piano and music. A year into teaching piano full time I met my guitar playing husband and the rest is romantic musical history!


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I started teaching piano during college. I was a business management major, but played piano for three area churches part-time. I was approached by one of the choir members to teach their daughter piano, and within a couple of months I had seven students - all by word of mouth. I had never intended to teach piano, as church work was my specialty. But, teaching came naturally and it was something that I really enjoyed. I eventually got hired at the local high school as an assistant choir director and started teaching some kids privately from there as well.

I remained as a traveling teacher after my 'day job hours' until late last year, when I bought my first home. I didn't start advertising until a couple of months ago, and already I'm almost to capacity.


Last edited by pianoeagle; 07/18/11 11:13 PM.

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I became a piano teacher by accident, too. A fellow teacher who worked in a school was starting to have a long waiting list. I had worked with her before as an accompanist for her woodwind studetns and had babysat her kid before, as well as being friends. I was studying at university at the time (Linguistics, Psychology, German and anatomy/physiology) with the plan to become a psychologist... eight years later I am still teaching. I don't have any formal music teaching qualification (working on it in my spare time in between teaching and studying for a PhD), but I think I have received excellent mentoring over the years, and my studies in psychology (and interest in the neuroscience of speech and music) have really helped. Because I am used to the way things work in academic fields, I have also been really keen to attend conferences and other professional development activities, which I think has helped a lot, too.


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I had thought about teaching for years, but I never thought I could really do it for some reason. I think I was just scared I would fail at it. Being a stay at home mom, I have not had much time in the last 4 years to dedicate to playing piano, but I missed it terribly and would practice when I could get a break. I have always felt I was meant to do something with piano. It is the only time I feel that I am in my "element" is when I am playing or teaching. So I started making as much time as I could to practice, learn more theory, learn about teaching piano by checking out every book I could find. My first lesson that I taught I was a nervous wreck, but then after each lesson I teach I feel so fulfilled that I am passing on my knowledge to someone else who will be able to use it for the rest of their lives. I definitely did not think I would be a piano teacher when I was younger though. I went to college as a music major with Trombone as my principal insturment, but I had no passion for it, so I quit after the first year. Years later I realized that piano was my main love. Except it was not encouraged enough in my early years so I really didn't have the confidence to major in piano when I went to college. Now, with two children, it is proving to be a challenge starting my own piano studio, but it will be well worth it. smile


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My first students were complete disasters, mostly because I charged a very low fee and the parents weren't the most dedicated, either. I had a lax studio policy, and--although I had well over 30 students--most of them just came and went through a giant revolving door. 80% of the students lasted less than one year. I even taught a couple of students who lasted exactly one lesson!

Then, two years after grad school, I suddenly got seven really, really good students--three of whom are still studying with me today, and one graduated from high school. It spread like a wildfire. It got to a point where I was able to (almost) double my fees and get rid of several students who weren't as serious about piano. And from this core of great students I was able to build a reputable studio and attract pretty serious students. Of course, I had my share of "teacher hoppers," and some of my best students eventually hopped on to bigger and better teachers, but I still think that--if it weren't for that initial batch of very talented students--I would probably be doing something else today. Thus, I cherish every minute I spend with these three remaining students as they enter high school this September.


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Really lovely and inspirational stories! Initially it started with really bad music teachers in my high school that probably did more damage than good! I wanted to be a GOOD music teacher ... I was very opinionated on good teaching already at the time, basing my opinions on the experiences of my bad music teachers. I look back at one of the teachers I've known ... I still sort of resent having to put up with that rubbish - her criticisms sometimes sounded like the advice you hear when you watch Idol. So I wanted to be a music teacher, a GOOD music teacher who didn't kill music.

And then ... I had a good piano teacher, a brilliant one who supported my musical endeavors and also supported me in other school related subjects. I loved music, hated music class in high school. I loved music so much to the extent that I took Schubert scores into maths, Vaughan Williams in visual arts. In my spare time I'd go to the library and borrow books on music history. In my lunchtimes I'd practice with my pianist/accompanist friend (we still keep in touch now). It felt natural that I'd pick music, I spent most of my time thinking about it, reading about it, analysing it ...

Chose to go and major in music, into my second year of musicology. Loved musicology but felt miserable reading about music and writing about it, I loved sharing my findings with people. So teaching became a natural progression, my piano teacher is supportive and helpful. And I've loved it!

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I got into teaching by accident, too. My primary instrument is organ, so naturally I'm a church organist. A few years ago, I had a young (and financially struggling) family from my church approach me to see if I'd be willing to teach their daughter (she had already had 2 years of lessons.) I agreed to teach her for the exorbitant sum of $7 per lesson! (This was quite a stretch for this family's budget.) Word spread and now several years later I'm teaching 10 children from my church, and am about to add several more. (And yes, I charge considerably more for the rest of my students!)


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I "fell into teaching" through accompanying. I started accompanying at about age 15, local voice teacher, sort of "on the job training". By the time I got to college, I was so good at it, I not only charged as an incoming freshman but ended up coaching my friends (I also played brass).

I didn't realize until later that most people simply accompany. They don't end up trying to fix problems, trouble-shoot. So I was actually teaching brass, on some level, unofficially. Later I already had connections, and I taught brass much better than piano for a long time. (I think the learning curve for teaching piano is long and complicated!)

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I started teaching piano back in 1978 when I was 15, under the direction of my own teacher who had me 'practice teach' some of her younger students over the summer. Our next door neighbor then asked me to teach their 3 kids. I charged $4 per half hour (which was actually double what the minimum wage was at the time).


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I started teaching by accident.

My dad played piano in a band. He also played bass guitar & was the lead singer! My goal was to play in a band! So the piano was played 24/7 in our house! Sometimes his band practiced until 1 or 2 in the morning at our house! My mother also plays, but plays by ear. I longed to play in a band someday, so I went to a classical piano teacher & got my grade 9 in classical music, but I wanted jazz & blues styles, so my dad sent me to his piano teacher who plays at casinos! I went to him for 3 years & learned lots! But to suppliment my lessons, I started teaching neighbour kids! Started with 2, then by the end of the year, I had 24! Just grew & grew!


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