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Re: Should I start teaching piano? [Re: sforzandissimo] #2843798
04/30/19 02:10 PM
04/30/19 02:10 PM
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ShyPianist Offline
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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 02:10 PM.

“If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt) - stolen from Kreisler
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Re: Should I start teaching piano? [Re: ShyPianist] #2843811
04/30/19 02:47 PM
04/30/19 02:47 PM
Joined: Apr 2018
Posts: 4,311
Tyrone Slothrop Online content
Tyrone Slothrop  Online Content


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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.


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: Tyrone Slothrop] #2843821
04/30/19 03:08 PM
04/30/19 03:08 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.


“If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt) - stolen from Kreisler
Re: Should I start teaching piano? [Re: sforzandissimo] #2843826
04/30/19 03:19 PM
04/30/19 03:19 PM
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Aargh, can’t edit any more. Requires maturity *as well as* wide musical experience,


“If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt) - stolen from Kreisler
Re: Should I start teaching piano? [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2843829
04/30/19 03:27 PM
04/30/19 03:27 PM
Joined: May 2016
Posts: 1,040
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Iaroslav Vasiliev Offline
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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 03:33 PM.
Re: Should I start teaching piano? [Re: ShyPianist] #2843837
04/30/19 03:49 PM
04/30/19 03:49 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 ).


"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: Should I start teaching piano? [Re: bennevis] #2843844
04/30/19 04:08 PM
04/30/19 04:08 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.


“If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt) - stolen from Kreisler
Re: Should I start teaching piano? [Re: ShyPianist] #2844093
05/01/19 10:08 AM
05/01/19 10:08 AM
Joined: Apr 2018
Posts: 4,311
Tyrone Slothrop Online content
Tyrone Slothrop  Online Content


Joined: Apr 2018
Posts: 4,311
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 10:14 AM
05/01/19 10:14 AM
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Posts: 114
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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.


Private piano teacher
B. Mus., M.Mus. (piano performance & pedagogy).
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