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#937335 - 02/14/05 08:36 PM Qualified to teach??  

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How does one know if they are "qualified" to be a piano teacher?

I've been playing for 30+ years. I still take lessons to keep my skills sharp, but I don't have a music degree and have never taken any pedagogy classes. I actually have 2 students right now. One is a beginner and the other is a "play-by-ear but can't really read music" type --- (I'm giving him things to sight-read so that he is forced to look at the notes).

Anyway . . . what I'm getting at is that I don't really feel qualified to teach because I haven't been taught HOW to teach. I do quite a bit of playing in my area - - - I'm an organist for our church, I accompany choirs, soloists, instrumentalist, and I occasionally perform in recitals . . . so people around here obviously know that I play and I get asked quite often if I teach. Right now I feel that 2 students is all I dare take on . . . if even that. If I had a little more confidence in my teaching abilities I would be more than willing to take on more students.
How can I know?

Thanks

Lisa

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#937336 - 02/14/05 11:19 PM Re: Qualified to teach??  
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Perhaps your first move should be to ask your teacher how she feels about you teaching, and whether she can help you.

You probably have the pianistic skills, but you need to study pedagogy.

Good luck.

#937337 - 02/15/05 09:35 AM Re: Qualified to teach??  
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I'm not a teacher myself, just a piano student. However for what its worth, you sound qualified to me. My piano teacher actually has a Bachelors in Social Work. Think it serves her well with her students. She seems to get the best out of them.

Round these parts (rural area) the public school system uses people with just 60 credit hours of college to substitute teach in pre k-12th grades-ALL the various subjects. Doesn't matter if they have any experience or not. ..you have 30 years experience as a pianist!

Good luck to you.

#937338 - 02/15/05 02:30 PM Re: Qualified to teach??  
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Based on your experience, I think you make a good teacher, there isn't course that really TEACHES you how to teach, teaching is something that you learn through interaction with so called students....really, because there isn't a text-book student.

Although, most people feel it's a little secure if they know that you have a degree, so you may want to consider getting some sort of artistry daploma or something that's in print so for those have a slightly different definination on 'teacher' can feel better.

#2560309 - 08/01/16 03:32 PM Re: Qualified to teach?? [Re: Anonymous]  
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I am in a similar position I think.

I have played for about 23 years now and I am not taking lessons anymore. I don't feel qualified to teach because I don't have a formal degree and have not been taught how to teach either. I play at church and I also get asked to teach from time to time. Previously I was often hesitant, but recently have picked up one student. I also would take on more if I were more confident in my teaching ability.

I have been lurking everywhere looking for pedagogy here and there, but seem to be able to only pick up bits and pieces.

I have considered whether it would be possible in the future to open a studio, but I don't want to be doing a disservice to any of my students by being a poor teacher!

Last edited by hello my name is; 08/01/16 03:34 PM.

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#2560538 - 08/02/16 10:23 AM Re: Qualified to teach?? [Re: Anonymous]  
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You took lessons to learn how to play.

It would seem reasonable to take lessons to learn how to teach. It should be a bit faster than the 30 years though! because you've been observing at least one teacher.


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#2560540 - 08/02/16 10:27 AM Re: Qualified to teach?? [Re: Anonymous]  
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FWIW, when I was in graduate school (Clinical Psychology) we were required to record our counseling sessions and bring them in to the group for feedback. That could be quite intimidating but it was essential.


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#2560543 - 08/02/16 10:37 AM Re: Qualified to teach?? [Re: Anonymous]  
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Every teacher kind of starts out this way. Even if you have a pedagogy degree, at some point you have to dive in and learn. Generally you charge a bit less during this time as a new teacher - but not too much below the average for your area so you don't undermine yourself and other teachers.

Anyways, there are wonderful books that you can buy to learn about pedagogy - you don't need a degree but you do need the drive to learn. Use your own teacher as a resource (if you have one). Ask her if she can mentor you in teaching, and each lesson you devote some of your time to letting her know how your current student is doing, and what recommendations she has.

This sticky thread on this forum lists many of these resources that are still in use (even though the thread goes back to 2007). Please read through it, invest some money and time into learning how people learn, and begin to develop lesson plans accordingly:

http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubb...eaching,_some_questions..html#Post949924

Do you use a method book? Piano Adventures and Piano Town are ones that I recommend. They are very helpful for presenting information in an orderly manner that students can build upon. If you do not use one, I suggest you do so right away with your students. No method will have everything, though, so it's important to supplement as needed with your own materials.

Last edited by Morodiene; 08/02/16 10:39 AM.

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#2560856 - 08/03/16 07:21 PM Re: Qualified to teach?? [Re: Morodiene]  
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Originally Posted by Morodiene
Every teacher kind of starts out this way. Even if you have a pedagogy degree, at some point you have to dive in and learn. Generally you charge a bit less during this time as a new teacher - but not too much below the average for your area so you don't undermine yourself and other teachers.

Anyways, there are wonderful books that you can buy to learn about pedagogy - you don't need a degree but you do need the drive to learn. Use your own teacher as a resource (if you have one). Ask her if she can mentor you in teaching, and each lesson you devote some of your time to letting her know how your current student is doing, and what recommendations she has.

This sticky thread on this forum lists many of these resources that are still in use (even though the thread goes back to 2007). Please read through it, invest some money and time into learning how people learn, and begin to develop lesson plans accordingly:

http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubb...eaching,_some_questions..html#Post949924

Do you use a method book? Piano Adventures and Piano Town are ones that I recommend. They are very helpful for presenting information in an orderly manner that students can build upon. If you do not use one, I suggest you do so right away with your students. No method will have everything, though, so it's important to supplement as needed with your own materials.


Thanks for the sticky. I am using the Alfred method books since it is what I can remember from when I was young. I am well aware though that they are not all-inclusive especially upon first use, which leaves me with some gaps to fill in. How do we fill in the gaps left by method books?


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#2560913 - 08/04/16 03:06 AM Re: Qualified to teach?? [Re: hello my name is]  
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Originally Posted by hello my name is
Thanks for the sticky. I am using the Alfred method books since it is what I can remember from when I was young. I am well aware though that they are not all-inclusive especially upon first use, which leaves me with some gaps to fill in. How do we fill in the gaps left by method books?

You are probably referring to the "old" Alfred books. Check out their more recent incarnation, Alfred Premier. It's vastly superior.

As you gain more experience teaching, you start to get a feel for how the different methods go at teaching. For example:

Hal Leonard goes at a more leisurely pace, and is ideal for kids who are "typical" and who are not progressing particularly fast. They have the BEST use of color and illustrations. It's also very good for younger students. I just recently went back to using these books and found them to be a very pleasant ride, for myself and for the kids. Some of the teacher parts (for duets) are extremely well written.

Alfred Premier is more middle-of-the-road in terms of pacing, and they just came out with a new sped-up version for the more advanced kids. My students seem to enjoy the music out of this set the most, and it's even great past books 3, 4, and 5. Book 6 is wonderful! I had a couple of students who went past book 4 before switching to classical repertoire books.

Piano Adventures is what most people are using, and what most of my transfer wrecks came with. Nothing's wrong with the books themselves, but I suspect a ton of incompetent teachers are hiding behind this series and praying that these books alone will teach the kids. A couple of "music schools" around here use this series in their one-size-fits-all method of teaching.

Succeeding at the Piano is relatively new. I think it tries too hard to combine technique and theory in an integrated manner, and the result is that some of the music ends up rather un-interesting. And the books are longer, so it takes a long time for the kids to plow through the books. It's also written in an overtly "cyclic" way, meaning that the pieces are not getting gradually more difficult, one after another.


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#2561073 - 08/04/16 06:19 PM Re: Qualified to teach?? [Re: Anonymous]  
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Oh wow! I didn't know there was an Alfred Premier now. Do you use the entire series? I notice there is a lesson book, a theory book, a performance book...

In the old Alfred book that I'm using now, it teaches counting by having the kid say "quarter" for quarter notes, and "half- note" for half notes, and "whole note hold down" for whole notes. I find that a little bit confusing since "quarter" is two syllables. Is there a better way of teaching counting? I know my teacher used to do "one ee and a" for eighth notes, but I can't remember if there were tricks for learning quarter, half, and whole notes.

I didn't do Piano Adventures as a kid, but I know my brother did a little as I recognize that cover, and didn't like it. OK my big curiosity, what makes your "transfer wrecks" transfer wrecks?

Last edited by hello my name is; 08/04/16 06:24 PM.

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#2561108 - 08/04/16 10:35 PM Re: Qualified to teach?? [Re: hello my name is]  
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I am not a teacher but my teacher uses a fruit-based method of counting with the kids. He uses pear for quarter notes, Apple for eighth notes, blueberry for triplets, and watermelon for 16th notes. Bruce Potterton used a similar method with adults at Summerkeys except he uses strawberry for triplets and elderberry for 16th notes. For some reason when I first went back to lessons as an adult I could get the rhythm especially the 16th noted better by using words rather than the one e and a.


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#2561129 - 08/05/16 02:24 AM Re: Qualified to teach?? [Re: hello my name is]  
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Originally Posted by hello my name is
OK my big curiosity, what makes your "transfer wrecks" transfer wrecks?

It's mainly kids who were taught that piano is "just for fun." Most of them can't read notes, can't count beats, and can't play with any sense of rhythm.

And there's also the other extreme: kids who were pushed way, way too fast and given Chopin by the end of year one of lessons, or kids who skipped four levels in one year. Most of the time it's the teacher's fault, but I've also found that overly enterprising parents are just as responsible for creating this mess.

Very rarely, I do find some students completely unteachable. I still have a couple of those hanging around. As soon as I get more calls this September these students will be the first to get fired.


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#2561233 - 08/05/16 01:56 PM Re: Qualified to teach?? [Re: zillybug]  
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Originally Posted by zillybug
I am not a teacher but my teacher uses a fruit-based method of counting with the kids. He uses pear for quarter notes, Apple for eighth notes, blueberry for triplets, and watermelon for 16th notes. Bruce Potterton used a similar method with adults at Summerkeys except he uses strawberry for triplets and elderberry for 16th notes. For some reason when I first went back to lessons as an adult I could get the rhythm especially the 16th noted better by using words rather than the one e and a.


lol!!! Love it.


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#2561234 - 08/05/16 01:58 PM Re: Qualified to teach?? [Re: AZNpiano]  
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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Originally Posted by hello my name is
OK my big curiosity, what makes your "transfer wrecks" transfer wrecks?

It's mainly kids who were taught that piano is "just for fun." Most of them can't read notes, can't count beats, and can't play with any sense of rhythm.

And there's also the other extreme: kids who were pushed way, way too fast and given Chopin by the end of year one of lessons, or kids who skipped four levels in one year. Most of the time it's the teacher's fault, but I've also found that overly enterprising parents are just as responsible for creating this mess.

Very rarely, I do find some students completely unteachable. I still have a couple of those hanging around. As soon as I get more calls this September these students will be the first to get fired.


Omg. If you were taught piano just for fun and can't read notes or count beats, then what did you learn? Maybe to improvise? I can't imagine. I also can't imagine giving a kid Chopin at the end of one year of lessons. Very odd.


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#2561548 - 08/07/16 07:02 AM Re: Qualified to teach?? [Re: hello my name is]  
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Originally Posted by hello my name is


Thanks for the sticky. I am using the Alfred method books since it is what I can remember from when I was young. I am well aware though that they are not all-inclusive especially upon first use, which leaves me with some gaps to fill in. How do we fill in the gaps left by method books?


First of all, I recommend getting your hands on the first book in each of the methods that are commonly used today: Alfred Premier, Piano Adventures, Hal Leonard, and I also recommend Piano Town. Look at each of them side by side (They have each 4 books: a lesson book, usually a solo/performance book, theory, and technique). Compare what each of them decides to stress, how quickly they move through material, etc. From this you should be able to decide which you feel is best...and this may change over time, so it's good to do this every once in a while as you progress as a teacher.

As far as supplementing what's in the method books - that's where you come in. What do you feel your chosen method book is lacking? Personally, I like to introduce scales early on, so I have a scale sheet that I use. There are also some exercises I've written that can help students when they have to do something like staccato in one hand and legato in the other.

You can also use other music to supplement if you have a student who needs some more practice on a particular concept and their method book moves along to the next subject. Rather than just plough ahead, you can find other music - either from another method or there are lots of repertoire books out now written for elementary levels of study that would reinforce what they've just learned.


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#2562245 - 08/10/16 05:01 PM Re: Qualified to teach?? [Re: Anonymous]  
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Morodiene-- That's a great idea! Thanks. I guess I have thumbed through method books, but it's hard to know if I can trust my judgment on these things. I like scales too, but the first student I ever had, I made her learn a scale to start off with and boy, it didn't go well. I think she was bored out of her mind cause it wasn't a pretty song and it was pretty challenging, and I was a stickler about it. She was in junior high and already could play by ear and played some random self-taught tunes, but I was trying to get her to learn *for real*.. So I'm kind of feeling shy about when to introduce scales. I'm sure it would have gone a bit better had I gone in with a method book instead of trying to create my own.. but maybe she was just not as interested in learning to read music as I thought she should be. Anyway. After that experience, I'm trying to ensure my student is having FUN and playing stuff that sounds good (this is where duets in the Alfred series comes in, hoorah!)
OK so the point is -- How early do you introduce scales?

Last edited by hello my name is; 08/10/16 05:05 PM.

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#2562257 - 08/10/16 06:08 PM Re: Qualified to teach?? [Re: hello my name is]  
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Originally Posted by hello my name is
Morodiene-- That's a great idea! Thanks. I guess I have thumbed through method books, but it's hard to know if I can trust my judgment on these things. I like scales too, but the first student I ever had, I made her learn a scale to start off with and boy, it didn't go well. I think she was bored out of her mind cause it wasn't a pretty song and it was pretty challenging, and I was a stickler about it. She was in junior high and already could play by ear and played some random self-taught tunes, but I was trying to get her to learn *for real*.. So I'm kind of feeling shy about when to introduce scales. I'm sure it would have gone a bit better had I gone in with a method book instead of trying to create my own.. but maybe she was just not as interested in learning to read music as I thought she should be. Anyway. After that experience, I'm trying to ensure my student is having FUN and playing stuff that sounds good (this is where duets in the Alfred series comes in, hoorah!)
OK so the point is -- How early do you introduce scales?


I highly recommend you get a few pedagogy books that are mentioned in that thread earlier. What you're asking is the whole concept behind pedagogy: teaching concepts in an order that makes sense and builds off of previously learned material. The Well-Tempered Piano Teacher is an excellent book to start with.

Personally, I get students playing scales within the first year of study, but certainly not the first thing. It does depend on how the student is. Some love drills, and some do not. If they do not, I try to make it as painless as possible and expect they'll only play them at their lessons (but I keep trying to encourage them to do more). They do have to have a good grasp of finger #s and finding their keys (A-B-C, etc.). They should also have some exposure to seeing sharps and flats, but not necessarily experience in playing in different keys yet. I mostly teach scales, chords, and arpeggios as rote rather than in written form. I actually want them to look at their hands and the keys when they do these. smile


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#2562849 - 08/13/16 09:25 AM Re: Qualified to teach?? [Re: Anonymous]  
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hello my name is, I am a beginner, but one thing I have learnt participating in this forum is that there are lots of different styles of teaching, and lots of different styles of learning the piano. What for some students is a nightmare is the favorite for others. Many of us like method books, or at least understand they are useful for a start. With some of them you could teach scales, with others maybe not (what Morodiene said better)...

At first I was only thinking of teaching adults and was planning to say that some adaptation would be good, but hmm the younger your students are, the more important it will be for you to try and reach an objective idea of what is "the very best method for teaching piano", which will always be work in progress. Consider that if anybody had really found the best way in an infallible manner, he/she would be famous and rich by now, and I haven't read about that piano method yet. smile


Last edited by Albunea; 08/13/16 09:26 AM.
#2567782 - 09/01/16 02:15 AM Re: Qualified to teach?? [Re: Anonymous]  
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Morodiene-- Great thanks! Yes, I have heard of that pedagogy book. I'm glad to know that it will address my questions.
I introduced the first scale to my student today. He ate it up, so I'm guessing he's the kind that likes drills. I'm okay with that.

Albunea-- Thanks for the encouragement.


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