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Re: Should I start teaching piano? [Re: sforzandissimo] #2843798 04/30/19 01:10 PM
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I have really hesitated to do this, but here goes. The OP is just getting to Grade 7 standard and is 17 years old. It wasn’t so long ago that I was getting roasted on here for having the temerity to be considering teaching my own child when at diploma standard, albeit without a formal qualification as yet. I seem to remember asking for suggestions for reading material beyond the diploma reading lists and having some very condescending replies from some forum members.

My point being twofold.

1) Having had that reaction to my own circumstances I really don’t want to do the same to someone else, especially a youngster.

But also

2) Can people on here please make up their minds as to whether you need a “degree in pedagogy” to dare even consider teaching or whether it’s something that can be done by an intermediate level player?

OP, can I make a suggestion? I think one of the most important things for successful teaching (based on my many years of experience as a student) is a high level of musical knowledge and general musicianship so that you can grab and maintain your students’ interest. What about considering tutoring in the early grades of music theory, or perhaps there’s a local Kodaly class or similar that you could help out with? I’m suggesting things that could build your experience while your own playing and musicality matures.

I really hope that came over OK and that it’s helpful.

Last edited by ShyPianist; 04/30/19 01:10 PM.

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Re: Should I start teaching piano? [Re: ShyPianist] #2843811 04/30/19 01:47 PM
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Originally Posted by ShyPianist
2) Can people on here please make up their minds as to whether you need a “degree in pedagogy” to dare even consider teaching or whether it’s something that can be done by an intermediate level player?

As a non-teacher, I would not even venture a guess at the answer to that.

My example of RCM above was only to "factually" point out that the Royal Conservatory of Music - an institution dedicated to the teaching of piano in North America for 133 years - obviously thinks that people at the RCM grade 8 (ABRSM 6-7) standard can, once they've separately earned the proper pedagogy certificates, teach piano pupils at a RCM grade 1-8 level. I'm not saying I necessarily know anything about this, nor am I saying that I think piano pedagogy certificates are necessary for teaching piano. I was only using this specific example to infer what RCM obviously believes about this issue of piano teaching by lesser skilled/experienced teachers.

Also, I am not saying that I believe it's a "best practice" for RCM grade 8 level pianist (which even RCM calls only "advance intermediate" level) to teach another RCM grade 8 student, even if they had an RCM intermediate pedagogy certificate. As I pointed out, I wouldn't hire such a teacher myself even though I'm below the RCM grade 8 standard.


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Re: Should I start teaching piano? [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2843821 04/30/19 02:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by ShyPianist
2) Can people on here please make up their minds as to whether you need a “degree in pedagogy” to dare even consider teaching or whether it’s something that can be done by an intermediate level player?

As a non-teacher, I would not even venture a guess at the answer to that.

My example of RCM above was only to "factually" point out that the Royal Conservatory of Music - an institution dedicated to the teaching of piano in North America for 133 years - obviously thinks that people at the RCM grade 8 (ABRSM 6-7) standard can, once they've separately earned the proper pedagogy certificates, teach piano pupils at a RCM grade 1-8 level. I'm not saying I necessarily know anything about this, nor am I saying that I think piano pedagogy certificates are necessary for teaching piano. I was only using this specific example to infer what RCM obviously believes about this issue of piano teaching by lesser skilled/experienced teachers.

Also, I am not saying that I believe it's a "best practice" for RCM grade 8 level pianist (which even RCM calls only "advance intermediate" level) to teach another RCM grade 8 student, even if they had an RCM intermediate pedagogy certificate. As I pointed out, I wouldn't hire such a teacher myself even though I'm below the RCM grade 8 standard.


I’m sure you know you weren’t one of the people I had in mind Tyrone 😊 but I probably shouldn’t have allowed myself to make that particular point. The wider point, however, is that there are massively mixed messages throughout the music community. Here in the UK there’s a piano teaching course that does NOT require you to have achieved ABRSM or similar Grade 8, but DOES require you to have existing students. So the very clear implication is that you don’t need to be an accomplished pianist OR a qualified teacher in order to already be teaching. Now I will always believe that the number one goal of any instrumental teacher must be to teach musicality and that requires maturity as wide musical experience, so maybe that’s what this course is getting at too. But surely a piano teacher does also need to be able to play at advanced level, to have experience of a wide range of repertoire and the full musical context of the pieces they are teaching? I don’t think being able to find their way around graded method books is in any way sufficient.


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Re: Should I start teaching piano? [Re: sforzandissimo] #2843826 04/30/19 02:19 PM
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Aargh, can’t edit any more. Requires maturity *as well as* wide musical experience,


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Re: Should I start teaching piano? [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2843829 04/30/19 02:27 PM
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Originally Posted by ShyPianist
2) Can people on here please make up their minds as to whether you need a “degree in pedagogy” to dare even consider teaching or whether it’s something that can be done by an intermediate level player?

My minimum requirements would be:
Advanced level of playing piano (app. 10 years of learning)
Having 3 books read about piano pedagogy
Having a week-by-week teaching plan made for a student for a semester


Last edited by Iaroslav Vasiliev; 04/30/19 02:33 PM.
Re: Should I start teaching piano? [Re: ShyPianist] #2843837 04/30/19 02:49 PM
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Originally Posted by ShyPianist
But surely a piano teacher does also need to be able to play at advanced level, to have experience of a wide range of repertoire and the full musical context of the pieces they are teaching? I don’t think being able to find their way around graded method books is in any way sufficient.

I agree with that.

My first teacher (who was then nineteen) had excellent musical and technical skills, as well as a wide range of knowledge: I well remember her telling me stories of Mozart's childhood when I started learning his childhood pieces, for instance. And she could sight-read just about anything, as well as play almost anything (she played Stravinsky's Danse russe from Petrushka as one of her 'after-lesson pieces' for example) and was instrumental in inspiring me to be the best pianist I could be, within the limitations of my mediocre talent (not much better than Salieri's wink ).


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Re: Should I start teaching piano? [Re: bennevis] #2843844 04/30/19 03:08 PM
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Originally Posted by bennevis
Originally Posted by ShyPianist
But surely a piano teacher does also need to be able to play at advanced level, to have experience of a wide range of repertoire and the full musical context of the pieces they are teaching? I don’t think being able to find their way around graded method books is in any way sufficient.

I agree with that.

My first teacher (who was then nineteen) had excellent musical and technical skills, as well as a wide range of knowledge: I well remember her telling me stories of Mozart's childhood when I started learning his childhood pieces, for instance. And she could sight-read just about anything, as well as play almost anything (she played Stravinsky's Danse russe from Petrushka as one of her 'after-lesson pieces' for example) and was instrumental in inspiring me to be the best pianist I could be, within the limitations of my mediocre talent (not much better than Salieri's wink ).


Your first teacher sounds exceptional bennevis, and of course it does go to remind us all that a young age is certainly not a categorical barrier to musical maturity.


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Re: Should I start teaching piano? [Re: ShyPianist] #2844093 05/01/19 09:08 AM
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Originally Posted by ShyPianist
Your first teacher sounds exceptional bennevis, and of course it does go to remind us all that a young age is certainly not a categorical barrier to musical maturity.

...as age is not a barrier to mathematical maturity or maturity of any kind. I've told this story to some, but in my distant youth, I was on a competitive mathematics team representing my high-population county, nationally. One of the other members of this team of mostly upper-level high school students was a 3rd grader from a rural area of the county, whose parents were farmers and whose elementary school teacher would personally drive him to UMCP about 30 miles away for calculus classes.

In the musical realm, who would turn down music lessons from a 12yo Mozart or even the 12yo Alma Deutscher? Age does not determine maturity. Maturity determines maturity.

That said, I think few of the comments above were about age, however, only about experience and skill of the teacher, regardless of age.


across the stone, deathless piano performances

"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
"Success is 10% inspiration, and 90% perspiration." -by some other wise person
"Pianoteq manages to keep it all together yet simultaneously also go in all directions; like a quantum particle entangled with an unknown and spooky parallel universe simply waiting to be discovered." -by Pete14
Re: Should I start teaching piano? [Re: Andamento] #2844096 05/01/19 09:14 AM
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It seems that when this type of question is posed, the only desired answer is "yes, you should start teaching, you are definitely qualified and you will be great at it". There have been several helpful and thoughtful responses, but the OP has not commented again.

Originally Posted by Andamento
I'd recommend asking your present teacher for specifics on whether she has confidence you could teach well, and if she could help give some tips to help you start well. She knows you better than anyone on the internet does, so ask for her direct, straightforward opinion. She might not necessarily think every 14-year-old (or older) would be fine to begin teaching just because she herself started at that age.

My opinion -- but remember, I'm just an internet person who doesn't know you -- is that if you don't know what you want to do, piano teaching might not be the route to go. You need a passion for teaching. If you do have that, I can't hear it in your post. Your students, if you do teach, will need someone who is enthusiastic about embarking on the teaching journey, not someone who has a vague idea that this might be one possible career area.

Be on fire to start out with enthusiasm, and acquire the needed teaching skills, per your teacher's recommendations, before you start looking for students.


I fully agree with this. There are definitely easier and more lucrative ways for a young person to get into the working world. Musical knowledge and experience has to be complemented by a genuine interest in teaching.


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Re: Should I start teaching piano? [Re: Iaroslav Vasiliev] #2853921 05/30/19 01:33 PM
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Hi sforz,
This would be a great question for your current teacher, assuming you have one, who knows you better than all of us.

Originally Posted by ShyPianist
2) Can people on here please make up their minds as to whether you need a “degree in pedagogy” to dare even consider teaching or whether it’s something that can be done by an intermediate level player?


Don't think that's going to happen. Different folks have different visions. Can it be done? Surely, it can be done. Will it be done to your standards? Depends on what your standard is. My dad can teach me how to play tennis. But he isn't a professional player, how dare he! Can I play tennis? Oh sure, enough to exercise, but not much beyond that. Am I ever going to find a tennis teacher and pay them to teach me? Nah. Do I appreciate being able to hit a ball around with my friends? Yes!

Anyhow, back to Sforz.
Since your question is "I don't know what to do", have you ever had friends who flippantly begged you to teach them how to play piano? I did. How would you feel teaching them? This would give you a way to dip your toes in and see if you even enjoy it. I agree with Animasha that it's totally on the student who agrees to you teaching them how it goes. The way I see it is, you're going to have to sacrifice some students for your learning. Of course with full disclosure for conscience sake! In college, I typically avoided "new teachers" for this very reason, lol, but someone's gotta take the hit for the rest of us!


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Re: Should I start teaching piano? [Re: Iaroslav Vasiliev] #2853927 05/30/19 02:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Iaroslav Vasiliev
Originally Posted by ShyPianist
2) Can people on here please make up their minds as to whether you need a “degree in pedagogy” to dare even consider teaching or whether it’s something that can be done by an intermediate level player?

My minimum requirements would be:
Advanced level of playing piano (app. 10 years of learning)
Having 3 books read about piano pedagogy
Having a week-by-week teaching plan made for a student for a semester



This sounds reasonable to me. Again I think it's natural for different people to have have different minimum requirements. I saw one of my family friends post a video of herself playing piano on Instagram. I don't know how many years she has taken piano lessons for, but her fingers were doing what to me looked all sorts of weird. Collapsing joints and unnecessary movements.. Didn't help she was wearing prob fake nails. I had to turn it off. Does that make me snobby or am I standing up for ethical treatment of piano students? *shrug*

Do a quick hashtag search of piano and watch the videos and you can see what looks to me all kinds of funky fingers.

But then Horowitz is famous for flat fingers so I'm not too sure how to dissect what's going on here.



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Re: Should I start teaching piano? [Re: sforzandissimo] #2853936 05/30/19 02:27 PM
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Quote
Does that make me snobby or am I standing up for ethical treatment of piano students? *shrug*


My point was really that a degree does not necessarily a good teacher make. I don’t believe intermediate level player should be teaching though.


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Re: Should I start teaching piano? [Re: ShyPianist] #2854061 05/30/19 10:49 PM
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Originally Posted by ShyPianist
Quote
Does that make me snobby or am I standing up for ethical treatment of piano students? *shrug*


My point was really that a degree does not necessarily a good teacher make. I don’t believe intermediate level player should be teaching though.


I think it's fair. A degree isn't a guarantee of teaching ability, but the education and training which gets you that degree surely is value added.


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Re: Should I start teaching piano? [Re: Iaroslav Vasiliev] #2854199 05/31/19 10:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Iaroslav Vasiliev
Originally Posted by ShyPianist
2) Can people on here please make up their minds as to whether you need a “degree in pedagogy” to dare even consider teaching or whether it’s something that can be done by an intermediate level player?

My minimum requirements would be:
Advanced level of playing piano (app. 10 years of learning)
Having 3 books read about piano pedagogy
Having a week-by-week teaching plan made for a student for a semester


Maybe it's because most of the kids I teach aren't looking to be professional musicians, but I cannot possibly plan out a semester. Who knows how much practice a student will do in a given week? If they practice as I want to, and I know the pace they learn at, then sure. But most students I teach have things that come up, have erratic practice times, and so to plan a semester would be a complete waste of time. The best I can do is think of what we'll work on for that week (depending on what they come to their lesson having done) and talk about goals for the semester or school year and then tell them once in a while how they're doing toward their goals.


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Re: Should I start teaching piano? [Re: sforzandissimo] #2854772 06/01/19 10:47 PM
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I am not a teacher, but I am married to one (school teacher) who lives and breathes for her teaching work. It has been her passion for over 30 years and I think that is what, in my admittedly biased opinion, makes her a great teacher. It sounds like at this point you're, very understandably, not sure what you want to commit to, yet committment is, again just my opinion, key to being a good teacher of anything, be it piano or riding horses. I wish you success in whatever you decide to pursue.

Re: Should I start teaching piano? [Re: ShyPianist] #2854779 06/01/19 10:59 PM
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Originally Posted by ShyPianist

I don’t believe intermediate level player should be teaching though.


Unless it's a war zone and there's absolutely no other alternatives, I totally agree with this statement. I don't care so much about the age, but I will question the music maturity and musicianship of any individual who wants to be in charge of any type of music studies for a beginner.

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