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Beginning to Teach? (Read 1438 times)

Offline inkspot

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Beginning to Teach?
« on: January 02, 2016, 10:44:52 PM »
I was wondering if there was any advice for those beginning to teach piano privately. How does one go about finding students and what are some of the basics in being a good teacher?

The purpose of teaching is to earn a side-income while being able to work in the field-- something of great importance as a music student.

Offline musiclessonsanywhere

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Re: Beginning to Teach?
«Reply #1 on: January 05, 2016, 06:13:00 PM »
As far as finding/recruiting students goes...

My 2p  ;)

- Get word out, tell your friends and family and friends
- Create a facebook page and share it to local facebook pages and groups (cheaper than a website!)
- Put up local ads
- Advertise in local ad papers
- Make contact with schools in the area, are there any gaps in music education that you could fill as a volunteer to make potential contacts, choir, keyboard groups etc?
- Consider teaching online so you are not just limited to your area
- Network - Talk to local instrumental teachers, I know a few that are over subscribed

As far as teaching piano properly goes, where do I start! A big subject for a few spare minutes! Make lessons fun and interesting is my motto. 

Offline pianotv

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Re: Beginning to Teach?
«Reply #2 on: January 07, 2016, 02:37:56 PM »
As far as finding students goes, some of it depends on your location. When I taught in a large city (Toronto), hands-down the best way I found students was Kijiji/Craigslist. I know not everyone has good experience with these sites, but mine was great and I ended up amassing about 20 (awesome!) students in 6 months. I just made sure to have a professional but personal posting. And of course, seeing as it was Toronto, lots of people would browse the postings.

I've been teaching in a small town for almost a year, and my studio is basically full at around 24 students. One of the big boosts was a Facebook group (this town has a fairly major and active group page). I probably received 10 students from that. A few from Kijiji, about 5 or 6 from flyers (local grocery store and library), and the rest from word of mouth. I wasn't very diligent about advertising, either.

As for being a good teacher - I feel most of that comes from experience. A decade ago, I was terrified and barely knew what I was doing. I read a bunch of pedagogy books, which helped, but there is no substitute for personal experience. It took me a few years to develop confidence and I definitely made mistakes.

One thing I started doing recently that has REALLY helped is to make a "curriculum". Schools have them, so why not piano teachers? Make complete lesson plans around a series of books you intend to teach (I use the Piano Adventures ones for beginners). This helps keep your students to a timeline, so you don't have kids spending 2 years on 1 book (in my experience it should be more like 6 months on Primer, 6 months on Level 1, and so on - and about 2 years to a Grade 1 RCM/ABRSM level for the average 6-7 year old beginner).

Anyway, just some ideas. Good luck! :)
Allysia @pianotv.net

Offline jgallag

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Re: Beginning to Teach?
«Reply #3 on: March 27, 2016, 10:10:51 PM »
I'm going to try to be brief. 1) Piano teaching is not a side income. You will be seeing them weekly for a very long time, one on one. That makes you a very important figure in their lives. You are responsible for shaping some of their first experiences in music. Please get rid of the attitude that this is something ancillary.

2.) Get a mentor. Preferably your pedagogy professor, but I assume you don't have one if you're asking. They can save you loads of time and false turns.

3.) Word of mouth and time are key. Let people know you are teaching, let current students know you have openings for their friends. Network with other piano teachers who may have overflow.

4.) Always be doing something while the student is playing. Pointing to the notes as they play helps guide the eyes. If they don't need that, play their part in a different octave. In addition, you should always be singing. You can sing note names, finger numbers, counts, lyrics. Your voice should reflect the character and dynamics of the music.

5.) You will go insane if you teach all students with the same method. It is mind-numbing to have taught the same book ten times. I use Music Tree, Piano Adventures, and Alfred Premier. There are many more. Stock up on supplementary composers. Jon George, William Gillock, Lynn Freeman Olson, Paul Sheftel, Dennis Alexander, Elvina Pearce, Catherine Rollin, Tom Gerou, Wynn-Ann Rossi, Martha Mier, Robert Vandall, and many more.

There's much more to say, but I'm on a mobile phone. That's what strikes me as most important at the moment.