How did you get started? - Just out of curiousity

Talk with other teachers, exchange tips, participate in polls regarding a teaching studio business

Postby Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed » Thu Mar 18, 2004 9:15 am

People have occasionally written me by e-mail to PEP asking about my background. Why? I don't know. I've always answered them. So, since at least two people have asked ("it is well-known that....") in this and other forums, here's the (abbreviated) scoop:

Ph.D Organic Chemistry, University of Illinois 1979
B.A. summa cum laude, Chemistry, 1974, Wabash College (Indiana)

Member - Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Lambda Upsilon, Corecipient - IR-100 Award from Research and Development Magazine, Listed Who’s Who in the West

Organizer, International Topical Workshop "Advances in Silicon-Based Polymer Science" (twice), Co-editor and coauthor, American Chemical Society "Advances in Chemistry" series volume 224, Silicon-Based Polymer Science: A Comprehensive Resource; Co-organizer, Special Topical Symposium on Sigma-Conjugated Polymers, American Physical Society National Meeting; U.S. Organizer, NATO Advanced Research Workshop "Science and Technology of Polysilylenes and Other Sigma;-Conjugated Polymers", Member, International Advisory Board of the X International Symposium on Organosilicon Chemistry; Member, Editorial Advisory Board, Journal of Inorganic and Organometallic Polymers.

Over 60 publications, over 60 invited presentations, 11 U.S. and over 20 foreign patents, approximately 20 registered copyrights, consultant in the field of polymeric materials, particularly silicon-based materials: polysiloxanes, polysilanes (polysilylenes), sol-gels, and polysilylacetylenes.

Head of a company which is carrying out consulting and research activities related to silicon-based materials, as well as commercializing own patented polysilane and polysilylacetylene materials and applications. Expert scientific witness in the area of polymeric materials, particularly silicones.

As you can see, my background and "day job" are scientific in nature. When I started PEP in 1995 with Nancy, I did so because I had the technical knowledge and willingness to write the site. At that time, there were no code generation tools (I wrote the original version of PEP entirely in HTML code) and I had found nothing about piano education on the Web at that time (well less than a million sites then - nearing a billion now). I proposed that I give a try writing the site, originally with Nancy's (and, later, Dr. Bill's) specific musical knowledge, combined with my "outsider's" insights and technical knowledge. The site won an award two weeks after it went up and has steadily won awards (now nearly 50) since. Although I'm both a vocalist and instrumentalist in past lives and have a nice piano and a substantial musicological knowledge, you may have already noted that I write all of the technical stuff on the site and, of course, edit everything else, but leave the hard-nosed music stuff to others more knowledgeable than I. Fortunately, while it's sometimes been hard to find people willing to work on the site for free, as I do, there have been enough talented musicians and educators who care enough about it to be willing to help occasionally or a lot (as in Dr. Bill's case).




Edited By Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Editor on 1079632104
All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man's life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom. - Albert Einstein
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Postby 73-1078374881 » Thu Mar 18, 2004 9:15 am

(about the Australian bug thing) Dude!!!!! You mean people actually eat those things?? I'd be running after it with a flyswatter! :laugh:



Edited By IPlayTheViolinSoThere on 1079622996
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Postby 73-1078374881 » Thu Mar 18, 2004 9:20 am

And bravo to Dr. Zeigler, Nancy, and Dr. Leland!!!! This message board has been a great help and I can already see changes in my teaching method (hopefully for the better :;): )!! Keep up the good work!
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Postby 81-1074658942 » Thu Mar 18, 2004 12:22 pm

Yes definitely! Wonderful site!

Dr. Zeigler I would never have guessed that you were a chemist! A bit of a suprise there. :) Most of my friends really hate chemistry, but I find it to be really fun. I'm also a math nut, so I guess that would kind of explain things. There's something very satisfying about working through something very very logically and coming up with a system for doing things, and then having an answer you can back up.
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Postby 81-1074658942 » Thu Mar 18, 2004 12:48 pm

And hey! all of that logic helps with piano too. I just tend to sit down and work out structure and chord progression and things like that. If you can analyze the music it makes things go so much faster.
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Postby Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed » Thu Mar 18, 2004 12:58 pm

Yes, I guess it seems strange to musicians that chemists would be into music. However, one of my profs at Illinois was an operatic tenor, several others were avid and accomplished instrumentalists. Music so pervades the chemical community that ACS, in its tabloid journal, Chemistry, current issue, has the feature article devoted to "the mysterious link between chemistry and music". You can see it here: Chemistry and Music.

My lab at Illinois was right across the street from one of the world's finest concert halls in the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts. The Chicago Symphony used to record regularly there, including their Grammy winning Symphonie Fantastique recording and the Ashkenazy recordings of the five Beethoven piano concertos. I used to come in to the lab and start an experiment, then head over to Krannert for the concert, then come back at intermission and stop the experiment. (I'm sure my long-suffering thesis advisor will be shocked, shocked! to hear that).

I've met the late Georg Solti, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Isaac Stern, Luciano Pavarotti (and family) and many other famous musicians there, as a result of my contacts in and with the music school, also across the same street, different corner. :)




Edited By Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Editor on 1079737836
All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man's life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom. - Albert Einstein
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Postby Mins Music » Thu Mar 18, 2004 4:57 pm

WOW Dr John - what an eye opener. Thank you for your post. You trully are a very busy person! And congratulations once again on such a successul project. You must be very pleased to see it growing every year!
"I forget what I was taught, I only remember what I've learnt." - Patrick White, Australian novelist.
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Postby Mins Music » Thu Mar 18, 2004 5:00 pm

lallasvensson wrote:I have studied piano in France, England, Sweden, Finland and Russia

I envy you your travels and experience. Which was your favourite country to study in Lalla?
"I forget what I was taught, I only remember what I've learnt." - Patrick White, Australian novelist.
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Postby Mins Music » Thu Mar 18, 2004 5:04 pm

lallasvensson wrote:Nikolaieva and Milich. I dont think they are available on the net.

I'll ask about them at our local music store. They may be able to order them in for me. :)
"I forget what I was taught, I only remember what I've learnt." - Patrick White, Australian novelist.
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Postby Mins Music » Thu Mar 18, 2004 5:06 pm

Chris X wrote:After I received my AA degree

Hey Chris, what's one of these? :D
"I forget what I was taught, I only remember what I've learnt." - Patrick White, Australian novelist.
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Postby 75-1079830936 » Sun Mar 21, 2004 4:46 pm

Hi Quidam,

I started teaching first as an experiment, I took five students while I was working on completing my 8th grade of royal conservatory. That went well but I couldn't take any students the next two years because we moved twice. Anyway now I am pursuing it as an at-home career. I am working still on my own training as well so I won't take more than 25 students; I need time for my own development. I started again two years ago with 10 students, this year I started with 16 and now I am up to 21.

My reasons for teaching are varied - it gives me motivation to keep up my own training - it gives me an opportunity to introduce music to other people - it is a steady and pretty good income with not a lot of hours - it is a lot of fun, especially with the 4-8 year olds - I don't have to work outside of my home, which will be a bonus when we have kids... probably more if I thought about it longer.

There are two groups of people I wouldn't recommend teaching piano to:
1) Someone who had less than a grade 7 or 8 level of training, because even though you're just taking beginners, you're still laying the foundation for their future development and it can be really hard to unlearn things later if you learn them incorrectly when you're young.
2) Someone who just likes to play piano and thinks giving lessons would be a good job to have and make a lot of money. There are a lot of highs but there are also lows, and it can be a stressful and irritating position sometimes where you want to beat your head against the wall! :p

Anyway I'm really glad to find this board, it's nice to hook up with other teachers of such broad backgrounds.

Karen
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Postby 81-1074658942 » Wed Mar 24, 2004 10:15 pm

Hey welcome to the board and thanks for your response. I love music, and I can see where it would be a great job for someone that wants to have a family as well. Although I really think that teaching univeristy students would be a blast! Perhaps someday when I'm old.... like....30 or something :;): :laugh:
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Postby Ursie » Sun Mar 28, 2004 3:30 am

I've only been teaching piano for about a year or so. I was studying for the grade 8 piano exam for pleasure and a local school needed someone to accompany the children for a concert. I'm very shy but decided that as long as I didn't accompany badly then nobody would notice me, they would be much too busy looking to see how little jimmy etc. were doing. The concert went well and I enjoyed myself so much I started to think about teaching. The school then said I could give lessons at lunchtime to a handful of children. I enjoyed this tremendously and decided to pursue teaching seriously.

That was a while ago but I now have a small amount of students I teach privately now. I am studying for a diploma in teaching and performing - you need to teach to gain experience to sit the examination (it's a bit of a chicken and egg situation really). I am very honest to all my students’ parents about where I am in my musical training. The performing diploma is being studied to bring my standard up to a level that will give me credibility as a teacher (and I love playing anyway, teaching or not I would continue to pursue this diploma). My teacher is excellent and a professional musician. I had a few teachers before I found her and so I have a definite idea of what a good teacher is and what a not so good teacher is. I don't think you need to be a professional musician to teach piano (surely there wouldn't be enough teachers to go round if that was the case???) - but I think you do need to have guidance from someone 'in the know'.

(ps I should probably add that I'm an older student, have a husband, 3 children and 1 very naughty puppy!) :;):
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Postby Lyndall » Sun Apr 18, 2004 8:40 am

My story's similar. I started teaching in high school when a lady down the street asked if I'd give her daughter who just joined the school band a few pointers. This led to giving her weekly lessons (+ lots of babysitting). Then one of her friends asked me. Then another. Then someone's sister wanted piano lessons, and so it went on through university (studying to get a Bachelor of Primary School Teaching). Then I got a job teaching 8-10 kids at a school where I'd done a teaching prac. It was great experience but quite primitive back then. I never had any guidance from anyone including my piano teacher cause I didn't think to ask him. No www either.

Then I graduated & moved to the other side of Sydney to start flatting on my own so had to give up all my students. 8 years later I met my husband (American) & we moved to the States. I never did teach a day in a school - went into office work instead cause there weren't any teaching jobs I wanted when I graduated. A year ago I began teaching a co-worker's son, then word got around (mostly through my current piano teacher) & I soon decided to quit my full-time office job for full-time piano teaching & I haven't looked back!

I LOVE IT.

Yeah these forums are very worthwhile, so thanks.
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Postby 76-1094931106 » Mon Dec 06, 2004 7:49 pm

I know this is an older thread but I just "discovered" it and found it very interesting!

I was always serious about music and my piano lessons... so people would always ask me if I planned on becoming a piano teacher. I always told them there was no way! I didn't think I wanted to at all... I would prefer to perform or even pursue a different career.

Then, when I was 15 years old, one of our close family friends asked me if I would teach her youngest daughter piano. I figured I would because it shouldn't be too hard to get a beginner started... plus I knew her well and it would be a way of earning extra money. Well, word gets around... soon I had 6 students. Then we moved to a small town and I didn't advertise at all but some people I was acquainted with found out about my music background and soon I was teaching their kids.

I found I enjoyed teaching piano but at the time it was difficult to teach in my home because my family was always around and there was no privacy. So, on a whim, I decided to call some local schools to find out if they happened to have a piano I could use after school. Every school I tried said no... I was about to give up but there was just one elementary school left... so I decided to try calling. The principal was thrilled with the idea and let me use the piano and a classroom as much as I needed... he also put an ad in the school newsletter for me.

The afternoon the newsletter went out I got about 20 calls.... that was enough for me to quit my fast food job that week and pursue teaching!

Now, I've been teaching for quite a few years and I still teach at lunch breaks and after school on most days at the elementary school. The days I'm not at the school I'm busy teaching at home.... this year I haven't had to advertise at all.... it all just happens by word of mouth! That seems to be how most people really get started!

I absolutely love this job and all the kids I get to teach!!
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