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37% of Piano Teachers Struggle To Find th #2767284 09/24/18 01:48 AM
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37% PIANO TEACHERS STRUGGLE TO FIND RIGHT PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

A recent survey of 389 piano teachers has found that 37% piano teachers don’t currently undertake any formal continuing professional development.

However, more than a quarter of those surveyed cited the poor provision of teaching resources for piano teachers as a reason for not attending a course, with nine out of ten saying that they were, in principle, interested in attending some form of course.

The survey also revealed that motivation, practice and rhythm are key teaching challenges.

Find the full results here: https://www.finchcocks.com/teachers/piano-teachers-struggle-find-right-professional-development/

What are your thoughts? Do you undertake formal professional development (i.e. courses)? What would you say are your main teaching challenges?


Finchcocks, Goudhurst, Kent, TN17 1HH
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Re: 37% of Piano Teachers Struggle To Find th [Re: Finchcocks] #2767285 09/24/18 02:26 AM
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And why necessarily formal education, if self-education gives more knowledge?

Re: 37% of Piano Teachers Struggle To Find th [Re: Finchcocks] #2767297 09/24/18 04:38 AM
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It's very good to see Finchcocks on these forums. Welcome!

Re: 37% of Piano Teachers Struggle To Find th [Re: Finchcocks] #2767336 09/24/18 09:31 AM
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I read the article. It says that most of the respondents of the survey were part time teachers. 37% of these teachers did not partake of instruction but only 1/4 of these (so a bit over 9%) were actually looking for such instructions and had difficulty finding it.

Therefore my impression from the article is:

9% of mostly part-time teachers surveyed say they have difficulty finding formal continuing education in piano teaching.

Re: 37% of Piano Teachers Struggle To Find th [Re: Finchcocks] #2767419 09/24/18 04:39 PM
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I don't understand the purpose of the survey. Also, the survey pertains to UK teachers.


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Re: 37% of Piano Teachers Struggle To Find th [Re: David-G] #2767427 09/24/18 05:24 PM
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Thank you! smile


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Re: 37% of Piano Teachers Struggle To Find th [Re: AZNpiano] #2767428 09/24/18 05:33 PM
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We conducted the survey as we were interested to see whether there's enough support readily available in terms of formal continued development. Of course you're right @Nahum, self-education gives great knowledge - and there are some fantastic resources online.

We were also keen to find out piano teachers' key teaching challenges, as well as which exam board dominates, so that we could create workshops and residential piano courses to meet these needs, aimed specifically at piano teachers smile


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Re: 37% of Piano Teachers Struggle To Find th [Re: Finchcocks] #2767461 09/24/18 09:40 PM
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Am I correct in understanding that Finchcocks.com offers continuing education for piano teachers?


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Re: 37% of Piano Teachers Struggle To Find th [Re: Finchcocks] #2767486 09/25/18 03:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Finchcocks
We were also keen to find out piano teachers' key teaching challenges, as well as which exam board dominates, so that we could create workshops and residential piano courses to meet these needs, aimed specifically at piano teachers smile

That is fair enough. However, isn't it a little worrisome that "teachers" need additional courses in order to teach students toward exams? Shouldn't there be some sort of a minimum requirement that would qualify a person to teach piano?

That's like saying a Geometry teacher doesn't know her trapezoids and spheres, and she needs additional courses to brush up on those specific topics. Shouldn't a teacher have complete mastery of the subject before attempting to teach it?


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Re: 37% of Piano Teachers Struggle To Find th [Re: Finchcocks] #2767488 09/25/18 03:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Finchcocks
What would you say are your main teaching challenges?

My number-one challenge is teaching Transfer Wrecks from studios and "music schools" that claim to teach piano. This includes convincing prospective students and parents to start over from scratch, buy a whole new set of method books, and/or refrain from taking any exams for a year or two.

The second biggest challenge is dealing with overscheduled students who have too many extracurricular activities. Very often I end up teaching these kids time management skills. I help them getting organized and becoming more efficient with their use of time.

The third biggest challenge might be a regional one, and that is dealing with overzealous parents. Many parents here are obsessed with exams and competitions. They want their 7-year-old kids taking level 9 exams so they can brag about it. Many parents sign their kids up for exams even though their kids are clearly not good at piano and have zero interest in testing. Many parents like to compare their kids' accomplishments. They end up spreading half-truths and misinformation around like the plague. I once had a parent who told me flat-out that she's transferring her daughter to me because many of my piano students win competitions. Well, her daughter is not very talented even though she does well at school and works very hard. Piano competition is not something you can just "win" by working very hard. After two competitions and zero wins, the mother took her daughter to someone else. This is the type of insanity that I have dealt with.


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Re: 37% of Piano Teachers Struggle To Find th [Re: Finchcocks] #2767499 09/25/18 04:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Finchcocks
We conducted the survey as we were interested to see whether there's enough support readily available in terms of formal continued development. Of course you're right @Nahum, self-education gives great knowledge - and there are some fantastic resources online.

We were also keen to find out piano teachers' key teaching challenges, as well as which exam board dominates, so that we could create workshops and residential piano courses to meet these needs, aimed specifically at piano teachers smile

You might not be aware that this is an American forum and most here (in fact, all the teachers who post here) are American, and they don't do exams like the ABRSM or Trinity that you & I were brought up on, unlike in the UK and many other parts of the world. When I first joined PW, I was surprised to discover how different piano instruction is in the US compared to the UK - seemingly, every teacher has his/her own method of teaching.

In fact, many teachers here are quite sniffy about students doing any exams at all......

I assume you've posted about your topic in the ABRSM forum already?


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: 37% of Piano Teachers Struggle To Find th [Re: Finchcocks] #2767542 09/25/18 09:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Finchcocks
We conducted the survey as we were interested to see whether there's enough support readily available in terms of formal continued development.

When I read the blog entry on that survey, there was this bit:
Quote
Majority of piano teachers do so on a part-time basis

Most teachers who took part in this survey teach between 10 and 20 students on a weekly basis, but a group of 9% reported teaching more than 50 pupils per week...

This would suggest that the majority of the respondents practised another profession, and did some teaching on the side, or they were novice teachers just getting started in their careers. I'm wondering why more full time teachers did not respond. Though one answer may be that if they are well established and experienced, they may have less reason to respond and thus their views are under-represented by dint of that. Would the courses then tend to address more basic things than issues a seasoned teacher might raise?

On the site I found this intriguing picture:
https://www.finchcocks.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/IMG_3096-860x573.jpg

It seems to be showing the black-white piano key patterns for major triads. I sort of wondered why Gb/F# was put in the same non-circle space as B; the former is an "all blacks", while the B's (B and Bb triads) are each other's inverse and so the odd triad out. The picture intrigued me for more than one reason. I'd hope that anyone teaching piano would be aware of this pattern, but I'm also curious what, mid-lesson got taught there which might have gone beyond that very basic fundamental.

The elephant in the room is that this is an international forum, while you offer in-house courses in a specific city in Britain which, furthermore, are largely geared toward exams that are done mostly in that country. This section of the forum here is in its own right "continuing education" as teachers across the world hash out approaches and issues.

Re: 37% of Piano Teachers Struggle To Find th [Re: bennevis] #2767673 09/26/18 12:02 AM
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Ah I didn't realise it was a majority US forum - apologies and thanks for letting us know!

Have a good day everyone! smile


Finchcocks, Goudhurst, Kent, TN17 1HH
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Re: 37% of Piano Teachers Struggle To Find th [Re: Finchcocks] #2767740 09/26/18 10:31 AM
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Full time in the US is considered 40 hours a week. "most" lessons are 30 mins each, so you would need 80 students for full time work (contact with students) Then, you still have to prep lessons, office work, communications, choose music, etc... So, arrange your life accordingly.

When I go to a music store and am asked how may students I have, a "full" studio seems to be around 30 students, in my area (SW USA)

For professional development, there are workshops through associations and music stores, and not all are just by publishers hawking there wares. smile . I even "attended" a webinar about getting students to practice.

I find it is learning new ways to demonstrate. Classroom teachers are required to attend training, Why not private piano teachers? I do not get a certificate, but I do gain new insights and a collaboration of ideas.

Getting students to enjoy playing is a great goal that I work on daily. It takes practice to play. Parents have to learn that, also.


Learning as I teach.
Re: 37% of Piano Teachers Struggle To Find th [Re: AZNpiano] #2767836 09/26/18 06:16 PM
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Originally Posted by bennevis
You might not be aware that this is an American forum and most here (in fact, all the teachers who post here) are American, and they don't do exams like the ABRSM or Trinity that you & I were brought up on, unlike in the UK and many other parts of the world. When I first joined PW, I was surprised to discover how different piano instruction is in the US compared to the UK - seemingly, every teacher has his/her own method of teaching.

In fact, many teachers here are quite sniffy about students doing any exams at all......

I assume you've posted about your topic in the ABRSM forum already?

I generally agree with you and don't mean to argumentative but I just wanted to point out that ABRSM exams do happen in some locations of the US. I had quite a few of my students do them when I still lived in the CA Bay Area. I also worked with a percussion school that had a huge number of students enroll in ABRSM, they also hosted exams. About two years ago I moved to Reno and they are not available here. Exam culture doesn't really exist here.

Originally Posted by AZNpiano
That is fair enough. However, isn't it a little worrisome that "teachers" need additional courses in order to teach students toward exams? Shouldn't there be some sort of a minimum requirement that would qualify a person to teach piano?

That's like saying a Geometry teacher doesn't know her trapezoids and spheres, and she needs additional courses to brush up on those specific topics. Shouldn't a teacher have complete mastery of the subject before attempting to teach it?


On the topic of support though, I would say it was hard learning how to enroll my students and how things were graded when I didn't grow up doing the exams (I grew up doing CM through MTAC) so any kind of support might be welcome to the teachers who wish to participate. My struggles with the process had nothing to do with content of the exams. Just the rules, deadlines and grading criteria.


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Re: 37% of Piano Teachers Struggle To Find th [Re: Mohrpiano] #2767842 09/26/18 06:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Mohrpiano
Originally Posted by bennevis
You might not be aware that this is an American forum and most here (in fact, all the teachers who post here) are American, and they don't do exams like the ABRSM or Trinity that you & I were brought up on, unlike in the UK and many other parts of the world. When I first joined PW, I was surprised to discover how different piano instruction is in the US compared to the UK - seemingly, every teacher has his/her own method of teaching.

In fact, many teachers here are quite sniffy about students doing any exams at all......

I assume you've posted about your topic in the ABRSM forum already?

I generally agree with you and don't mean to argumentative but I just wanted to point out that ABRSM exams do happen in some locations of the US. I had quite a few of my students do them when I still lived in the CA Bay Area. I also worked with a percussion school that had a huge number of students enroll in ABRSM, they also hosted exams. About two years ago I moved to Reno and they are not available here. Exam culture doesn't really exist here.


That's the point - and even if a student wants to do the exams and there's an ABRSM exam centre nearby, they'll likely have great difficulty finding a teacher who actually knows about the ABRSM syllabus (which is quite different from CM for instance), let alone willing to teach it. The numbers of candidates from the USA are tiny compared to those from say, South-East Asia, where the ABRSM is almost as ubiquitous among music students as in the UK.

I've traveled around USA often enough (and everywhere from Alaska to New York) to know how different things are from one state to the next. There's much more similarity between Austria and Switzerland than there is between Wyoming and California, for instance.

Certainly, there is no teacher from the US in this forum who knows anything about the ABRSM.


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: 37% of Piano Teachers Struggle To Find th [Re: Mohrpiano] #2767891 09/27/18 01:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Mohrpiano
I generally agree with you and don't mean to argumentative but I just wanted to point out that ABRSM exams do happen in some locations of the US. I had quite a few of my students do them when I still lived in the CA Bay Area. I also worked with a percussion school that had a huge number of students enroll in ABRSM, they also hosted exams. About two years ago I moved to Reno and they are not available here. Exam culture doesn't really exist here.

So, now that you have had experience with both systems, what are your thoughts?

I do get asked about ABRSM from time to time, especially from the Malaysia and Singapore families that I teach. But they all stopped asking when I tell them they have to drive 45 miles to take the test. I'm glad I don't have to learn an entirely new system of exams just for those 3 families.

Recently, there is this rumor passing around regarding piano exams and their function on college applications. The rumor is that, since CM is a California thing, it is viewed less favorably "on paper" when you compare it to ABRSM or RCM, since those exams are international exams. I could not contain my laughter.


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Re: 37% of Piano Teachers Struggle To Find th [Re: AZNpiano] #2768045 09/27/18 09:48 PM
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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Originally Posted by Finchcocks
We were also keen to find out piano teachers' key teaching challenges, as well as which exam board dominates, so that we could create workshops and residential piano courses to meet these needs, aimed specifically at piano teachers smile

That is fair enough. However, isn't it a little worrisome that "teachers" need additional courses in order to teach students toward exams? Shouldn't there be some sort of a minimum requirement that would qualify a person to teach piano?

That's like saying a Geometry teacher doesn't know her trapezoids and spheres, and she needs additional courses to brush up on those specific topics. Shouldn't a teacher have complete mastery of the subject before attempting to teach it?


I don't think that's quite an accurate analogy. A lot of other professions, such as speech therapy, require their practitioners to enroll in continuing education courses every number of years or so in order to keep their certification. It is one way to stay up to date with changes/new discoveries happening in the field and also because there is always more to learn. I don't think continuing education in itself is necessarily indicative that these teachers don't meet minimum requirements. But minimum requirements is another topic in itself, I think.


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Re: 37% of Piano Teachers Struggle To Find th [Re: bennevis] #2768253 09/28/18 06:50 PM
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Originally Posted by bennevis
Originally Posted by Mohrpiano
Originally Posted by bennevis
You might not be aware that this is an American forum and most here (in fact, all the teachers who post here) are American, and they don't do exams like the ABRSM or Trinity that you & I were brought up on, unlike in the UK and many other parts of the world. When I first joined PW, I was surprised to discover how different piano instruction is in the US compared to the UK - seemingly, every teacher has his/her own method of teaching.

In fact, many teachers here are quite sniffy about students doing any exams at all......

I assume you've posted about your topic in the ABRSM forum already?

I generally agree with you and don't mean to argumentative but I just wanted to point out that ABRSM exams do happen in some locations of the US. I had quite a few of my students do them when I still lived in the CA Bay Area. I also worked with a percussion school that had a huge number of students enroll in ABRSM, they also hosted exams. About two years ago I moved to Reno and they are not available here. Exam culture doesn't really exist here.




Certainly, there is no teacher from the US in this forum who knows anything about the ABRSM.


bennevis, did you not read Mohrpiano's post (the one that you are responding to)? Or are you stating that Mohrpiano knows nothing about ABRSM?


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Re: 37% of Piano Teachers Struggle To Find th [Re: malkin] #2768261 09/28/18 07:20 PM
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Originally Posted by malkin
bennevis, did you not read Mohrpiano's post (the one that you are responding to)?

Did you read his post?


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
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