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PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2004 11:06 pm
by 81-1074658942
I'm a student who is considering teacher piano, [eventually] and I just wondered how some of you all got started with giving lessons. How in the world do you set up a private studio, or do you teach at a college? I would also love to hear about how you all decided to go into music in the first place! :) think about it this way: it's kind of like the artist/educator of the month interview on the PEP. most of those people are famous, [or moderately so] but you all are famous to your students, so why not! Can't wait to hear what you all have to say,


PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2004 8:01 am
by Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed
Just in case you missed it, there are a number of relevant articles on these points in The Teaching Studio section of the site, including one on establishing a new teaching studio. The latter article contains lots of good advice on what you need to know, how to prepare, how to set up your studio, how to advertise, and how to run it as a business.

By the way, many of the people we interview on PEP are not "famous," though perhaps they should be. :;): What they have in common is the ability give us their own unique take on piano as a career.

Edited By Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Editor on 1077413482

PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2004 9:37 am
by Mins Music
Hi Quidam!

I started out as a drama teacher! Loved music, but only as a hobby. (Although did some at Uni - also involved with lots of musicals). Anyway, very bad sickness meant I had to stay at home and R E S T ... :( So I did that.)

A friend (yes, just one) approached me and asked if I would teach her the piano. Soon I had three students. Then I moved.

Not long after, another friend asked if I would teach their daughter how to play the piano. Okay. 1 student. Then another one asked. Then another one.

When I started to feel better, I began to think "Hey, it's not bad this teaching music from home. I think I want to be a private piano teacher."

So I gathered resources, got a 'plan of attack' ready, did some advertising. Soon, with word of mouth my studio became completely booked.

I've been teaching the piano now for ten years. And I LOVE it. It's a great job. I heartily recommend it - especially if you like music and love people.

PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2004 2:04 pm
by 81-1074658942
To Dr. Zeigler,

I have read a number of articles out of the teaching studio section and they were really informative and interesting. You know, PEP really is a brilliant site (:

Hey, Mins, thanks for the response. I bet this thread is going to be really enjoyable to read (: By the way, I really love drama too... It's so fun. I homeschool, so school plays are out, but I do stuff at my church sometimes. great stuff!

PostPosted: Thu Mar 11, 2004 5:12 pm
by 73-1078374881
Well, thinking about the way I started always makes me laugh! My dad, ever the one to promote his kids and put their talents to good use, advertised me (teaching beginning piano) in the newspaper and somehow forgot to tell me that he did so. I started getting all these calls from parents wanting me to teach their kids, and found it somewhat odd, but I said, "Okay, sure, whatever, it's your kid I'm going to scar for life." :p I started teaching right on my 13th birthday!! When I found out that my dad was behind it, I was a little annoyed, but I'm very glad now that he did it!!! (now how he roped me into being a church organist when I didn't even know how to play the organ, that's another story...) :D

PostPosted: Wed Mar 17, 2004 1:56 pm
by Chris X
Hi Quidam,

After I received my AA degree, my friend reccomended me to a studio that was in need of a keyboard teacher. At the studio, I gained a lot of clientelle. Unfortunately, the store that ran the studio eventually closed down. I was able to retain the majority of my students. I get a lot of students now based on referral.

PostPosted: Wed Mar 17, 2004 5:22 pm
by 108-1079367823
Hi Mins
I am admiring your career a lot but i dont understand how you can be a teacher without being a professional musician. Did you learn by yourself about piano technique, pieces, repertoire, music history, forms and so on ?
Dont parents ask you about your qualifications ? as for me they always want to know about my training, current performances and so on. Tell us more about your experience please.

PostPosted: Wed Mar 17, 2004 6:18 pm
by Mins Music
I understand a professional musician is one who gets paid to perform? Is this your understanding lalla? In this sense, No, I am not a professional musican, I don't get paid to give professional piano recitals.
Here in Australia it is very common for musically trained people (I've had a lot of different teachers over the years, I've been playing since I was eight) to decide to teach only. In our culture this is very accepted and respected. Of course, there are also professional performers (concert pianists) who also teach. Their passion is performing though. My passion is teaching. I'm sure there are those out there who LOVE doing both.
My qualifications are hanging up in my studio for all to see. (I've framed them both) I've never been asked what they are, because parents can see them. I have been asked how long I've been teaching (10 years - i.e. privately) and what my experience is (taught individually ages 5 through to 67, group work, workshops, courses, exam entrants ... then class room teaching , both in primary schools and high schools).
In Australia, you need to do a four year university degree to teach in public schools. (although things are now beginning to change - people just aren't choosing to be teachers over here anymore) .
I did a Bachelor of Arts degree majoring in Drama and Music, and a Graduate Diploma of Education.
The first three years concentrate on WHAT you'll teach - technique, composers, all theory, history etc. The last year focuses on HOW to teach all that you have learnt. It goes into how to design and develop course outlines, lesson plans. It also teaches about the brain, how the brain functions, how people 'learn' in different ways. We did a lot of psychology - why people think the way they do. It covered disciplin techniques, communication styles.
This is a very brief overview of course. The four years were a wonderful period in my life. But what I have found even MORE beneficial than my academic qualifications is just experience - with people, with repertoire, knowing myself and my limits etc.
I teach only preliminary through to grade 8 students (lalla, do you use grades in Hamburg). Anyway, the top grade I teach is not considered a 'professional' performance level. There are other stages students can continue with.
Most from my area move to the cities for this expertise tuition and guidence.
I have performed many times when I was younger, but these days my emphasis is on what happens in my studio.

I still love to play for myself, and have the type of personality that is a little 'perfectionist'.

Lalla, would you like to tell us a little more about your experiences? I'm particularly interested in learning about other countries and their culture.

Here in Australia lalla, we have the reputation of being very laid back and carefree. We're often heard saying "No problems mate" or "She'll be right mate!" But we're also known as the 'little Aussie battlers' because we work hard. Have you ever visited Australia lalla? I live in the top part of NSW. It's very hilly, and lovely and green. The town has about 35 000 people. The closest city is about three hours away: Brisbane.
Look forward to hearing from you.

PostPosted: Wed Mar 17, 2004 7:49 pm
by Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed
I have been watching this thread with interest, in light of the fact that we have written elsewhere on the site that piano teachers need more than just an ability to play. A thorough knowledge of basic pedagogy, piano "methods", and even a little motivational psychology are attributes that help make a good effective teacher. Should a teacher be able to play well the instrument he teaches? Yes, absolutely. Is that all it takes? No, just as absolutely.

Both lallasvensson and Mins Music have described rather different teaching styles. I suspect that both are good teachers, teaching effectively where they live for the students they serve. The point I'm trying to make here is that the style is different because the students, expectations and culture are different in the two places. I can go further than that with this. Japanese students are taught rather dramatically differently than American students. Approaches that work well there are often ineffective here, with a different type of student. Is one place better than the other for learning piano? I doubt it and most measures of accomplishment in the performance area support that view. Is one approach better than another for any given student? You bet! The challenge is to find out what appraoch works best for the student and teach to the student, rather than having the student mold himself to the teacher's way of doing things.

That said, people should know that this thread can serve a very valuable purpose by bringing out individual, geographical and cultural differences in piano pedagogy. The more we know about how others do it around the world, the better position we are in to be the best teachers we can be. :) At the very least, we can develop an appreciation for the fact that there is no one "right" way of teaching, but a whole spectrum of "effective" ways!

PostPosted: Wed Mar 17, 2004 8:04 pm
by Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed
P.S. to Mins Music:

Your description of your location brings back a lot of memories of my last trip to the Brisbane area. Can you fax me some Moreton Bay bugs? :D

(For the unlucky individuals who haven't gotten to Australia, Moreton Bay is in the Brisbane area. "Bugs" are a type of shell fish that are found primarily in Moreton Bay and are a local delicacy. They are among the ugliest creatures on the planet (think trilobite-looking lobster), but boy are they good seafood!) Check out this link for a picture: Moreton Bay Bug

PostPosted: Wed Mar 17, 2004 9:03 pm
by Mins Music
Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Editor wrote:Can you fax me some Moreton Bay bugs? :D

Yummo! Sorry John, I'm keeping them all to myself!! :p
Have you ever tried the ole 'Surf and Turf' - succulent fillet steak topped with juicy bug .... mmmmmmm.

ANYWAY! I think Lalla hit the nail on the head with a comment she gave in another post. If at all possible, attend a studio recital of students playing. If the parent is happy with what they see, this will give them a good indication whether that studio is for their son or daughter (or themselves).

But this thread is about how we all started, so Dr John, would you like to tell us your story? How did you get started? And Lalla, how did you get started?

And a plea to any other teachers reading: How did YOU get started? :)

PostPosted: Wed Mar 17, 2004 11:02 pm
by 81-1074658942
LOL about the bugs! I'll have to visit Australia sometime. This thread has been really really interesting to read! Mins, the courses you took sound fabulous. I'm just reading them thinking "o, COOL!" :D

And it has also been really interesting to hear about the different cultures and ways of teaching. Although I'm going to have to check out the thread about grades sometime here soon. We don't have them in the states and they kind of confuse me. I think they may be more common in Canada, but I'm not too sure.

PostPosted: Wed Mar 17, 2004 11:03 pm
by 81-1074658942
Yes, Ms. Svensson and Dr. Zeigler, we would love to hear about how you all decided to go into music! :)

PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2004 5:17 am
by 108-1079367823
To Mins.
I am happy we are friends now. I saw your posts on the other forum and i am happy you stick to this one.Thank you for your response. Unfortunately i have never been to Autralia but for sure i ll visit one day. Australia has also great pianists, PErcy Grainger, Piers Lane...
Anyway, i am a bit busy now so i cant make a complete answer. I have studied piano in France, England, Sweden, Finland and Russia so I have a good view of the European style teaching which is all but laid back except in Sweden (and there the level as a result is much lower than in the other mentioned countries).

But i have no doubt about the fact that your teaching is appropriate for a type of students needing a lot of self confidence. As for me, i only want to teach strong personalities who are prepared to work very hard. I am aware that I probably miss talents that way too but it is a choice, i dont want to compromise. It s good that there are so many different styles of teachers out there so that students can pick up the teacher who will really fit them.

About your question regarding Nikolaieva and Milich. I dont think they are available on the net. When i am in Russia, i buy tons of scores, it is still extremely cheap there.

PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2004 5:22 am
by 108-1079367823

First of all, in Europe, we dont usually run "teaching studios". I know some who do, must most of them are just like me, teaching privately. Which means, i dont have a policy (this would be considered as weird thing to do), i get paid after each lesson, and because of my busy schedules i cant promise fixed times...

So well, I got started just because some friends who were teaching privately were moving and asked me if i could take over their class. The best way to get many pupils rapidly (although you might not want to teach all of them, but that s another question). Then word of mouth... Now my reputation is clear: i am extremely demanding. So people who come to me know it already and I hardly have to make it clear.