\"\"
Piano Forum logo

How to become a piano teacher (Read 1738 times)

Offline bernadette60614

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 525
How to become a piano teacher
« on: October 13, 2016, 01:12:07 AM »
I've had a great corporate career, and I'm within 3 years of winding them up, but I'll still not be ready to "retire".

I've really enjoyed learning how to play piano, and I really just love kids.  (Not in a sentimental way....I just find the originality of their thoughts to be really challenging.)

I'm considering amping up a grassroots charitable endeavor I founded (http://www.booksfirstchicago.org) OR becoming a piano teacher. There isn't the time/energy to devote to both and do both well.

So, what is the route to become a piano teacher?

Thanks!

Offline j_tour

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2054
Re: How to become a piano teacher
«Reply #1 on: October 14, 2016, 07:58:15 PM »
Hang out a shingle.

That's it.

As far as promoting/advertising, I got in touch with a teacher when I was about 18 or 19 who lived up in Harlem, jazz pianist, through an ad in the Village Voice, where he listed his credits as including playing with Albert King, B.B. King, and Buddy Guy.

I was too young to know he could have been bull-shitting me, but it turns out he wasn't.

Every student I've had has been through word of mouth -- somebody who saw me play somewhere, or a friend thereof, or just a friend, or that kind of thing.

I recommend using a spreadsheet to keep track of who/what/how much, but you probably already know all that organizational stuff.

ETA and file your taxes.  You can deduct a lot as a self-employed musician, and I know many people who do, but also many more people who are like me and just decide it isn't worth the hassle to deduct 1/8th of the mortage payment your home studio and the five bucks you spent on a new TRS cable.
My name is Nellie, and I take pride in helping protect the children of my community through active leadership roles in my local church and in the Boy Scouts of America.  Bad word make me sad.

Offline bernadette60614

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 525
Re: How to become a piano teacher
«Reply #2 on: October 18, 2016, 07:05:57 PM »
Anyone else? Thanks!

Offline j_tour

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2054
Re: How to become a piano teacher
«Reply #3 on: October 21, 2016, 06:18:40 PM »
I'm so glad you've made your question more precise.

I'm sure you'll get lots of opinions.
My name is Nellie, and I take pride in helping protect the children of my community through active leadership roles in my local church and in the Boy Scouts of America.  Bad word make me sad.

Offline keypeg

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3567
Re: How to become a piano teacher
«Reply #4 on: October 21, 2016, 07:51:38 PM »
Are you asking how to learn to teach?

Offline Bob

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 16052
Re: How to become a piano teacher
«Reply #5 on: October 21, 2016, 11:06:48 PM »
Give a lesson.  Boom.  Instant piano teacher.

I'd lean towards "independent piano teacher" though.  Keep it professional.  Have a studio, policies, expectations, etc.  And charge what you're worth.  If you charge less, it hurts other teacher who have to compete with that.

If you're retired, you might not care too much about building up a career then.  Anyone can teach if someone is willing to be their student.  Resume-wise, it can look better to be part of a larger organization.  And sometimes that's easier if they find students for you.  But then instead of being Joe Blow Piano Teacher, you have an organization attached to your know.  Either way, reputation and word of mouth is probably going to trump all.
Favorite new teacher quote -- "You found the only possible wrong answer."

Offline j_tour

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2054
Re: How to become a piano teacher
«Reply #6 on: October 22, 2016, 03:44:19 AM »
And charge what you're worth.  If you charge less, it hurts other teacher who have to compete with that.

Word.  It sounds kind of crude for a fancy piano teacher and all, but if you've spent any time at all playing in your town, it's a smaller world than you'd think, I don't know or care where it is.


It's just, the music is a small business.  I don't care if it's NYC or PDX -- everybody knows everybody, so just be friendly.

Makes it sound like a wiseguy racket, but it isn't -- it's just everybody knows everybody.

You got nothing to worry about, just if you want to teach, get some students already!

ETA I've never heard anyone talk about "Jack/Jill charges ten bucks an hour, let's get the rope!," in fact in fact in my town it's just twenty bucks an hour minimum, more if you're with a shop.  But I'd be shitting you if I didn't say people don't gossip -- c'mon, man, maybe not about how much per hour, but about your reputation as a player.

I mean, let's be real.

Hang out a shingle, if you're good, and people like you, you'll make out.

End of story.
My name is Nellie, and I take pride in helping protect the children of my community through active leadership roles in my local church and in the Boy Scouts of America.  Bad word make me sad.

Offline j_tour

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2054
Re: How to become a piano teacher
«Reply #7 on: October 22, 2016, 05:31:40 AM »
Anyone else? Thanks!

bump.

I don't know about you, but the OP strikes me as someone who really has what it takes to be a professional musician.  I'd like to keep this thread open in case there are any more helpful hints.
My name is Nellie, and I take pride in helping protect the children of my community through active leadership roles in my local church and in the Boy Scouts of America.  Bad word make me sad.

Offline bernadette60614

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 525
Re: How to become a piano teacher
«Reply #8 on: October 24, 2016, 12:48:54 AM »
Let me rephrase:

How to become a truly good piano teacher who serves her students well by teaching them a good foundation of theory, good practice technique and musical expression.

I was surprised to learn there isn't a national credentialing organization for piano teachers.  As someone who has studied for several years, but now finds that she is pretty much doing the equivalent of learning how to walk again...on the piano...I would like to become a good piano teacher by the above definition.

Offline Bob

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 16052
Re: How to become a piano teacher
«Reply #9 on: October 24, 2016, 02:55:51 AM »
What about MTNA? http://www.mtna.org
Favorite new teacher quote -- "You found the only possible wrong answer."

Offline bernadette60614

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 525
Re: How to become a piano teacher
«Reply #10 on: October 24, 2016, 04:33:28 PM »
Excellent! Thanks so much!

Offline timothy42b

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3243
Re: How to become a piano teacher
«Reply #11 on: October 24, 2016, 07:08:06 PM »
Hang out a shingle.

That's it.


That is 100% correct.

If you say you are, you are.

On the other hand, you MIGHT want to become a GOOD piano teacher, and that would take some effort.

In fact, it takes exactly the same things become a good piano player took:  talent, interest, the discipline to practice and improve, and a teacher to coach and mentor you.  Plus, experience doing it, provided you have the ability to pay attention and learn from your experience. 

Your own piano teacher may be able to help with this, but just with parenting (none of us actually gets enough to fully mature us) once you're of age, it's your responsibility to go find it and finish the job. 
Tim

Offline ameliatan

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 17
Re: How to become a piano teacher
«Reply #12 on: October 28, 2016, 07:23:42 AM »
Apart from having the foundation, you need to have a lot of knowledge about different teaching methods and ideas and of course music pieces  I have read so many books about teaching, and I learnt what was effective by simple 'trial and error'. One of the most important thing I discovered is their ear is the most powerful tool. From expression, to theory to anything related to music! Lots of tricks when learning technique also. For practicing more efficiently, I always ask them to isolate their trouble spots. Also, I try to remind myself not to talk down to them. I notice the kids nowadays are so different. In my time, I had a strict piano teacher that I dare not ask questions! They just talk down to me, and I did it without thinking why. I notice kids like it when you ask questions, to get them thinking, or discover something together (make sense?) I agree that word of mouth is best advertisement. I also notice that the learning never stops, whenever I think back to my lessons, there is always something that needed improvement in my teaching.

Offline j_tour

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2054
Re: How to become a piano teacher
«Reply #13 on: October 28, 2016, 09:39:22 PM »
Apart from having the foundation, you need to have a lot of knowledge about different teaching methods and ideas and of course music pieces  I have read so many books about teaching, and I learnt what was effective by simple 'trial and error'.

Now this is getting down to the nitty gritty.  I'm glad (non-sarcastic) the OP came back and clarified. 

I personally only teach basic piano (blues, stride, "light classical," how to transcribe, and whatever), to adults who come to me with a pre-defined goal -- it just kind of happened.  Twenty bucks an hour, file taxes, and that's good enough for me.

However, I have spent enough years teaching while a grad student in another field to know that there's no end to how much pedagogical theory there is -- most of it beyond my scope of interest.  At the end, thinking back, the teacher is the only one who is "responsible," in the sense of the way the French language uses the term -- there is never (or should never be) any doubt of the teacher's technical proficiency, but there is another responsibility in the meaning that the teacher should already know (or have experienced), or be capable of judging very quickly anything the student plays.  And be able to communicate appropriately the right response.

So, I don't know what.  "Plays well with others":  to be a good teacher, you should have "got" an A+.  "Listens well."  A+, sim.  And so forth. 

An empathetic person who happens to be skilled in certain areas makes a good teacher, in general.  In my experience, that's a pretty rare combination. 
My name is Nellie, and I take pride in helping protect the children of my community through active leadership roles in my local church and in the Boy Scouts of America.  Bad word make me sad.

Offline Bob

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 16052
Re: How to become a piano teacher
«Reply #14 on: October 29, 2016, 01:01:35 AM »
Maybe take a class then?  Piano pedagogy? 

I've done a bunch of that.  It could be done on your own too, but the certificate or whatever you "earn" can impress people.  At a certain point you won't care much about it though.

I suppose... You could study up on philosophies and then take the class.  You'd already have ideas before the class, so it would be easier (or as difficult as you want to make it).  For certificates, lots of places will essentially sell them.  You just have to jump through their hoops (and pay them... Guess why they offer the super awesome certificate?  They're making money off you.). 

Piano pedagogy
General/elementary music
music education -- instrumental -- at beginner, middle, high school levels

Here's a bunch.  Memorize this and you'll look up on things if you haven't heard of any.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Music_education



The other thing I've seen teachers do (and if they're making money, students are happy... who's really going to argue with this even if it's BS?), is to say you don't get stuck on one philosophy.  You take the best from everything.  You're not stuck in some rigid pattern of prescribed teaching.   You adapt your teaching to the individual needs of the students.  Blah.... blah... blah....  No one's going to argue with it and you sound intelligent.  And if you're making money and students sound ok, who's really going to argue against anything you say?
Favorite new teacher quote -- "You found the only possible wrong answer."