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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.

teacher123 Fri 22-Mar-13 19:25:25

No. And I wouldn't employ you as a peripatetic teacher at my school either I'm afraid. (Head of music at a prep school). IMHO grade 8 is only the beginning, especially on the piano. If I was looking to employ a piano teacher I would want a Bmus from a conservatoire, or well regarded university, and possibly a postgraduate qualification as well. I would also look for accompaniment/performance experience and some sort of teaching qualification.

RussiansOnTheSpree Fri 22-Mar-13 19:30:53

@MTS - I have several friends who teach music at private schools. I know plenty about what goes on thanks. Though, obviously, only in those schools, not in private schools in general. smile The view expressed upthread that all the half decent musicians go to private schools on music bursaries is laughable for most parts of the country although obviously it may be true for the area in which that poster lives (although I doubt it).

MTSgroupie Fri 22-Mar-13 20:10:12

I'm sure that having several friends who teach music at private schools equip you to offer MNetters insights into how private school parents like myself think.

FYI bursaries are based on income and not on musical talent. Talented musicians either get a scholarship and/or an exhibition (ie free lessons).

The ones that I am familiar offer a maximum of three main scholarships per form year and lesser scholarships which are exhibitions by another name. Only a handful of kids get these awards so no, private schools are not full of half decent musicians on bursaries or similar.

RussiansOnTheSpree Fri 22-Mar-13 21:04:07

In some private schools they get scholarships. In many parts of the country the private schools offer no scholarships for anything other than financial need.

Everybody always assumes that the way they do things in the schools they know about is the way they do them everywhere. And it rarely is.

I'm glad you agree with me that the comment upthread about music bursaries was mistaken. smile

MTSgroupie Fri 22-Mar-13 21:22:21

I was making the observation that bursaries are income based. The fact that some schools only award scholarships based on financial need and not musical talent is a non sequitur.

morethanpotatoprints Fri 22-Mar-13 21:33:27


I'm afraid you would not necessarily be getting a good teacher under those circumstances. I know you may presume that somebody of the calibre you describe would indeed be the best bet, but many conservatoire instrumental teachers don't have teaching qualifications, have never taken a grade in their life, and post graduate qualification, forget this.

TolliverGroat Fri 22-Mar-13 21:35:27

No, I wouldn't. Or at least, I am about to pay someone not-particularly-qualified to give DD1 some guitar lessons, but

(a) this is as a gentle introduction, low-pressure, learn a few chords and see where it goes introduction to the guitar.

(b) DD1 knows this person already and I suspect she's a major factor in why DD wants to learn the guitar.

(c) I'm not intending this to be a long-term arrangement. If DD is still interested in a year-18 months I'll find her a proper guitar teacher (probably, although it coukd be that if/when it comes to that I'll decide differently.

teacher123 Fri 22-Mar-13 21:38:52

A conservatoire qualification or music degree is pretty standard amongst the peris that I've known and worked with for the last 10 years. A teaching qualification is desirable, as is postgraduate study. I would not even consider someone who didn't come highly recommended, had excellent references and who I hadn't heard teach and play.

morethanpotatoprints Fri 22-Mar-13 21:47:13

smile smile

Russian please don't faint, but I agree with you about the teachers at select schools.

My dh used to teach a particular instrument at a very sought after boarding school. At the same time he taught joe bloggs son at our home where he has a private tuition business. The main difference was the boarding school and other select schools charged parents twice as much as dh charged, in order to pay for school grounds. Joe bloggs son got exactly the same service but half the price. DH now has a company that provides music workshops to schools. Guess what? Yes, the academies pay the contracted fee, the privates charge the parents yeh you guessed twice as much.

morethanpotatoprints Fri 22-Mar-13 21:48:24

Disclaimer. I mean the same time not at the same time, he would have to be Barbapapa.

MTSgroupie Fri 22-Mar-13 21:54:00

121 music lessons at the private school that I am familiar with are charged the 'standard' rate. It is by no means common practice to charge a premium simply because you are a private school.

Private school fees are £15,000 pa upwards. Bit silly to assume that these schools will screw you for what is essentially loose change.

3littlewomen Fri 22-Mar-13 21:54:40

No. My 15 year old son has just done grade 8 piano, passed with distinction and no way could he teach.

Need teaching qualification, experiance etc.

The first few years of playing are so important for technique/posture etc and badly taught habits are hard to undo. I speak from experience regarding sons first teacher who almost destroyed his playing.

1805 Fri 22-Mar-13 23:20:16

I teach at home, at state schools both through a music service and privately, and at private schools also.

OP, there is nothing to stop you teaching, but you would have to charge an amateur rate, rather than a professional rate. Also, are you in a union? and do you have public liability insurance? Just things to think about ....

1805 Fri 22-Mar-13 23:26:23

Also, are you registered with the tax office?

LilyBolero Sat 23-Mar-13 19:38:20

Would you employ someone who passed GCSE maths a while back to tutor your child in maths? Am guessing not!

TolliverGroat Sat 23-Mar-13 20:35:32

Well, at primary level it's entirely plausible (indeed, very likely) that your child's class teacher (who will be teaching him/her maths) will only have a GCSE in the subject. And at primary level I'd be perfectly happy with someone with a GCSE tutoring as well.

LilyBolero Sun 24-Mar-13 08:56:25

At primary level it would be GCSE......Plus a PGCE.

I think the PGCE makes quite a difference tbh!

FamiliesShareGerms Sun 24-Mar-13 09:03:37

Sorry, no. Grade five isn't very advanced at all, even grade eight isn't exceptional (I've got grade eight on two instruments and I'm not exceptional!).

SanityClause Sun 24-Mar-13 09:35:21

The lessons I have paid outside school for DD2 and DS have been nearly double what I would have paid at their private schools. In fact at DD2's school,they use exactly the same teachers that DD1's state school uses (grammar) and the price is also exactly the same. (Different teachers at DS's school, but same money, give or take.)

In answer to the OP, no, I wouldn't employ you as a music teacher. I would only take someone on recommendation, and I would check their qualifications. Maybe I would overlook a really good teacher by doing this, but frankly, that's my lookout!

So, sorry, it's another "no".

HenD19 Sun 24-Mar-13 09:47:32

I teach piano at home and in schools and I did grade 6 and 7 6 years ago. Never got round to doing 8 as I had my daughter. I have been teaching for years and have several regular pupils who have returned after both mat leaves. I often receive phone calls from people wanting lessons and don't advertise so these potential pupils are from word of mouth. Grade 8 is not essential in my opinion especially as naturally gifted musicians often don't make the best teachers.

ihearthuckabees Sun 24-Mar-13 10:03:38

All those people saying "would you employ my 11 year old who is as qualified as you, cos he's got Grade 5 distinction" are really missing the point about what it takes to be a good music teacher. It is not about how good you are at playing your instrument. In fact, sometimes the better players aren't the best teachers because they find it difficult to relate to the difficulties people have playing something.

Being a good teacher requires, patience, insight into personality, knowledge of how we learn, humour, creativity, an ability to break down problems, clear explanations, adaptability, a love of people.

OP, your teaching knowledge, and dedication to continue to improve (by taking lessons yourself - which is always recommended when teaching an instrument) and understanding of your limitations make you a fine candidate for teaching one to one. The private school, peri arguments are a red herring, and I would feel comfortable hiring you as a teacher, for a beginner, or an adult continuer. I wouldn't hire you to teach at an advanced level, but you know that anyway.

iheart, BMus, LGSM

flowery Sun 24-Mar-13 10:30:46

"I've got grade eight on two instruments and I'm not exceptional!"

Me neither. Mind you, I only scraped it IIRC grin

claudedebussy Sun 24-Mar-13 10:58:04

there is a big difference between playing well and teaching well.

good teachers are very hard to come by so if you were the sort of teacher that can inject enthusiasm and keenness then i would send my kids to you - if you had grade 8.

i think you need to understand good technique though, and given you failed your grade 6 i'd worry about your technique. do you understand technique and how to fix problems? the early stages for learning are vital for starting off with good technique and bad habits taught at the beginning can take a lifetime to unravel.

if you were a good teacher and had good technique i'd be happy to send my kids until they got to grade 4 maybe.

it's not as simple as getting a book and teaching it to some kids. some children respond to different types of teaching and tutors and you need to have knowledge of at least a few so that you can tailor your teaching to suit the child.

biryani Sun 24-Mar-13 11:55:44

Thanks all. I didn't realise the thread was still going! Thanks to those who made positive comments; I agree that I have a long way to go and have no allusions about my weaknesses. However I''ve been taking lessons for 2 years now as an adult, and I ''ve really been enjoying it, and making steady progress. I would not aspire to compete with those who have degrees etc but I think I could perhaps make a teacher at some point in the future, providing I continue to make progress and get some grades under my belt. This could take years, though, and I need to know whether it would be worthwhile.

claudedebussy Sun 24-Mar-13 12:11:10

tbh i think you have to do it for yourself rather than any potential income. the sheer number of hours you will be putting in is huge.

i practice nearly every night when my friends are off out and having fun. for me it's the satisfaction of a need to play. i get depressed if i don't!

the rewards for you need to be in the short term as well as achieving a long term goal.

good luck. the learning is never ending smile

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