Would YOU employ me as a piano teacher?

(96 Posts)
biryani Thu 21-Mar-13 09:44:56

I currently teach piano a bit, as a hobby, and I am wondering whether I have what it takes to be a teacher. I play a lot, and take lessons, but have no provable qualifications. I studied piano as a child to grade 6, but failed my practical and gave up. I''ve taken it back up again as a hobby. I can play some quite difficult stuff, a lot of which is through muscle memory, and I'mdI'doing a music teacher course through the Abrsm. I feel I lack credibility given the skills and qualifications of piano teachers I know of, but would YOU employ me as a teacher? Be as blunt as you like! Thanks.

flowery Sun 24-Mar-13 15:49:07

OP if you were grade 5 standard and have been taking lessons now for two years, and have been making progress, you aren't 'years' off getting grade 8 I wouldn't have thought. Have you spoken to your teacher about taking exams again?

Xenia Sun 24-Mar-13 15:53:13

Have another go. I passed 4 grade 8s. Some of my children had grade 8s at 10 and 11 /12. It is not that hard if you are good. You might expect the teacher to have a BMus, grade 8 certainly and possibly even a PGCE with some teachers but it's supply and demand and some parents haven't a clue about these things and you may be just as good as someone who has grade 8 theory and piano, a music degree etc. I am sure I could teach the piano to a good standard (I don't teach it) without a music degree, for younger children.

LilyBolero Sun 24-Mar-13 17:05:53

Things I would worry about;

Insecure grasp of technique - ie your own technique may be shaky, so you may be starting kids of with dodgy technique that may take a long time to put right

Narrow experience of music - at grade 5 level you won't have a big repertoire, so would be difficult to find breadth of music for kids to learn - eg if kids don't get on with one particular book/piece, would you be able to find alternatives, and to know what would be suitable/helpful?

Unable to demonstrate things beyond grade 5 level - by which I don't mean pieces that are harder than grade 5, but tone control/articulation etc to a level which is higher than that expected for grade 5.

Unable to play aural tests - some of these are quite challenging

Not spotting what the kids are getting wrong - not just in terms of notes/rhythms, but in terms of pulse, musicality, phrasing, shaping, tone control, performance, all of which are part of the assessment in grade exams.

I'm not saying you can't deliver these, I'm just saying these would be some of my concerns.

1805 Sun 24-Mar-13 18:44:35

Here's a question for you -

Would you employ a piano teacher who is a professional violinist first and foremost, who is officially grade 6 piano, but did piano as a second study at (top) music college?? She teaches beginner piano in her local primary school.

I presume she knows about good basic technique from her music college teacher.

LilyBolero Sun 24-Mar-13 18:53:42

That's not a great comparison though, because the OP is not a professional violinist (unless she has failed to mention this fairly important fact!!!).

1805 Sun 24-Mar-13 19:02:39

No, I know, but responses to the OP's situation made me wonder how people thought about a second study player teaching.

i would be happier because they have a wealth of experience behind them too. but i wouldn't send an advance child to them, just a beginner.

1805 Sun 24-Mar-13 19:08:38

Yes - she said to me she'd panic much above grade 3, and we have several friends who are first study pianists she'd recommend any whizz kids go to.

pianomama Sun 24-Mar-13 20:08:15

Problem is - how can you tell a whizz kid when they are beginners? Do you say to your pupils "I only teach average kids who are not expected to go pass G3 ".
By the time they are G3 they already have bad habits.What a waste of time,money and effort. Why bother at all then?
DS's first piano teacher was a bit like that and when it turned out that DS was bit of a "whizz", the teacher said something like "normally my pupils give up by about G4 so I was not sure what to do about him". We went to another teacher who was horrified by the lack of basic technique he used to play quite complex pieces and had to take him right back to basics.
DS wasn't impressed but if he stayed with the old teacher .. he probably would have given up by G4. A good teacher needs to teach them to play even the easiest pieces musically. And I would never employ a violin teacher to tech piano.

VinegarDrinker Sun 24-Mar-13 20:32:41

Could you find work as a piano teacher, OP? Yes, probably. Especially in a rural area and if you were charging much less than professional teachers.

Would I employ you? Erm no sorry. I agree with those who have said being a good musician doesn't mean being a good teacher, but you do need a firm grip on good technique and musicianship in order to pass that on. I have seen a lot of people with shocking technique that is really hard to unlearn.

FWIW both my DM and DH are music teachers. They both went to the RAM. DM has LRAM ARCM. She also has QTS. DH has a BA in Music (with a First, from another Uni), an MMus from the RAM and the LRAM.

1805 Sun 24-Mar-13 20:41:42

Oh, her pupils don't give up at grade 3 (I don't think so anyway), but they move up to the senior school, having lessons with the piano teachers there. She only teaches at primary schools so I imagine the pupils are beginner to around grade 3 anyway.

1805 Sun 24-Mar-13 20:43:57

Vinegar - but would they teach their second study instruments?

I am wondering if it's something I should do as well as my first instrument....

VinegarDrinker Sun 24-Mar-13 20:51:24

Yes my Mum does, but is diploma level on everything she teaches (piano, viola, violin, singing).

DH does too, but his instruments are sax/clarinet so a lot more similar. He also teaches beginner recorder and has in the past taught beginner piano but only for friends' children and at mates' rates.

If you are grade 8+ on second study (or equivalent, I wouldn't be fussed about the bit of paper) then I don't see a problem with it.

schilke Sun 24-Mar-13 22:09:28

1805 - dh does this wink As you know his first study is trumpet which he mainly teaches. He has grade 8 piano (million miles from professional), but does teach a few piano pupils. He was slightly worried about taking them on, but he has a teaching qualification and can teach them about being a musician. They are primary pupils and will move on when they change schools.

He would obviously be able to spot a gifted pianist. He would feel perfectly comfortable teaching them to grade 5.

schilke Sun 24-Mar-13 22:16:47

Meant to add. Dh only taken on piano at these schools because there were huge waiting lists for piano lessons. Specialist piano teacher actually asked dh to take some on. Not many seem to want to play brass. Don't know why as much more interesting.....only joking!

1805 Sun 24-Mar-13 22:50:57

hello schilke! I teach my kids piano - ds just started on gd 3 pieces. He has trombone lessons from someone your dh and I both used to work with!!!!!!

What level and do they usually get up to before they change schools?

chocoluvva Sun 24-Mar-13 22:51:29

IMO continuity doesn't matter - it's not good to have the same teacher for more than four or five years.

schilke Sun 24-Mar-13 23:10:02

Big Nige?! (Dh's words - if so, tell him to get in touch!)
All primary school piano teaching at the moment is beginner to grade 2. He has had a private pupil pass grade 5.

1805 Sun 24-Mar-13 23:15:25

yes! I will pass message on - but will be via 10yr old boy, so who knows when he'll remember to tell him! my dh see's N at a school they both teach at so he might be the better messenger!

1805 Sun 24-Mar-13 23:15:57

grade 2 piano I can manage.

LilyBolero Mon 25-Mar-13 00:00:52

At primary level can be anything from beginner to grade 8, but most commonly beginner to grade 2 or so I would think.

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