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.

weegiemum Thu 21-Mar-13 14:47:35

No, sorry.

Our Piano teacher for our 3 dc has grade 8 piano and clarinet and a BMus with specialism in teaching, from RSAMD. I'd not consider anything less. I'm a teacher and if i didnt have a degree and pgce, then I wouldnt teach.

No, because if my child took to the piano and progressed well with it (which is surely what every parent hopes) then I would have to move them from you to a different piano teacher once they got past a certain stage.

I taught DS1 myself for the first year (I did Grade 5 piano many moons ago and still sing regularly) because he was on a waiting list for piano lessons but he was keen and desperate to start learning. Once he started proper lessons, his piano teacher was happy with what I'd done with him (the first two 'Ten Tunes for Ten Fingers' books) and said he'd made a good start, but I am under no illusion that I'm a piano teacher!

Daisy17 Thu 21-Mar-13 14:53:19

No, sorry, at least grade 8 to be taken seriously. I'm surprised that wasn't a requirement for the AB course you're doing tbh - what qualification are they awarding you at the end?

RussiansOnTheSpree Thu 21-Mar-13 16:34:54

No, absolutely not.

biryani Thu 21-Mar-13 17:02:30

Thanks for your comments. They''ve really helped me focus. Shelling- I like the idea of the Epta course. Thanks.

crazymum53 Fri 22-Mar-13 08:46:08

I think people on this thread are being very negative - actually the worst music teacher that I had was grade 8 Distinction and performance diploma. He was very impatient with beginners!
If you charged slightly less than a fully qualified teacher and had the ABRSM teaching certificate and also marketed the fact that you had a PGCE and up to date CRB/enhanced disclosure, then I would consider you as a teacher. The chances are that if you are having lessons now you will reach grade 8 in a few years time. Taking adult beginners (or returners) is also a good idea too.

My mother has taught piano for many years (now retired) with grade 8 plus diploma and has only ever had one child beyond grade 5 in more than 10 years of teaching. What tended to happen is that she would take beginners and they would reach grade 3/4 by age 10/11 and then be awarded "music" bursaries at local independent schools - so they would then move on to having lessons at school. So the ideal of teaching one pupil all the way to grade 8 may be quite rare.

MTSgroupie Fri 22-Mar-13 09:00:39

My DD learns the viola with a friend of a friend who is a policewoman and who plays just for fun. DD recently got a Distinction for her Grade 5.

This was someone who came highly recommended by a friend whose opinion I trust. Normally I would have looked for an experienced full time music teacher.

musicalfamily Fri 22-Mar-13 09:02:06

I think it is true that very few pupils continue with a private teacher to grade 8 too. Having talked to my brother who is a violin teacher and both my children's music teachers, they said the same.

I agree that some go to independent schools and do music there; some go onto JA/JD schemes; many drop the instruments around grade 3/4 and even 5 before the theory. It takes quite a lot of commitment to get to grade 8 and I would be interested to see how many achieve this through private study.

I do agree though that you need either to be semi-professional/professional or have a teaching qualification. We've gone for a mix of those for ours.

MTSgroupie Fri 22-Mar-13 09:08:44

... however a lot of mums don't take music that seriously. Those mums will be looking for someone that is affordable as opposed to some (expensive) teacher with a glittering music CV. You can perhaps market yourself accordingly.

RussiansOnTheSpree Fri 22-Mar-13 09:11:26

It depends where you live. Not everywhere is close enough to a JD scheme, you know. And some of the regional equivalents only provide top up stuff, the deal is you continue with anything you were already doing (and paying for) before you joined the scheme. Which is rubbish, but that's another thread (and not one I've got the heart to start to be honest). DD1 has gone all the way to grade 8 with the same teacher on 2 instruments and although she swapped teacher after grade 4 on her third, this was only to go from the peri at primary school to a peri at her secondary school. The vast majority of people do not live in a world where 'music bursaries' are on the radar even if they are fabulous at music.

morethanpotatoprints Fri 22-Mar-13 09:13:39

My dd plays 4 instruments and we only have teachers with a well established portfolio of professional experience with the UK's main orchestras or bands.
They need to have a track record of teaching and 100% pass rate with students taking examinations. Three of them teach at conservatoires and the other (Piano) has the above and is a Professional musician, accompanist, teacher and freelance musician to many leading Orchs.
It costs us an arm and a leg for lessons.

I know everybody wouldn't need this level of tuiyion, but I think at least grade 8 and some professional experience. I would expect you to know the main syllabus inside out, be familiar with recent changes both as a teacher and as a performer.
Do your homework, practice and take grade 8, you need your theory and then why not?

pianomama Fri 22-Mar-13 11:49:53

I'll be blunt then.. Would YOU employ my 11 year old DS to be YOUR piano teacher? He "can play difficult stuff" and is more qualified then you.
May be its time for him to start earning his keep smile.

flowery Fri 22-Mar-13 12:02:05

"I think it is true that very few pupils continue with a private teacher to grade 8"

That hasn't been my experience at all. I don't know what a JA/JD scheme is but of the many many grade 8 level musicians I played with/knew when I was a teenager, the vast majority of them did it through private teaching. Myself and DH included.

Maybe that isn't replicated elsewhere, I don't know. Maybe there was an unusually high number of musicians of that standard where I was as well, but if most of the ones I knew had got bursaries at independent schools, those schools would have been full to bursting with musicians and nothing else. There were several excellent youth orchestras in the area and unless you played a very unusual instrument, you'd need grade 8 to even get an audition, so young musicians of that standard were not at all in short supply.

I'm musing as I type here! I don't think that was the case in the area I used to live in and now live back in though. Hmm. Interesting!

My DS (aged 8) is having piano lessons with a good teacher. He is also "learning" the guitar from our AP. The AP is an excellent guitar player, and a talented musican and very good with the boys, but as he says, he is not a teacher. I am delighted that he is doing this with DS, but I woudn't be paying him a proper commercial rate (about £16 half hour round here). When AP goes back to France, if DS is still keen, i think we will look at getting proper lessons.

So short answer no!

musicalfamily Fri 22-Mar-13 12:28:33

Clearly there must be a huge regional variation then.

Where we are, the local music centre's senior strings only has players up to grade 4 standard.

JD/JA is a Saturday or Sunday scheme run by music colleges up and down the country for the select few who are very talented/very keen - they are normally offered by audition only.

Many children around here do go to private schools for secondary (not on a bursary) and they tend to swap for teaching there. Maybe it's only our local experience.

Certainly my brother has never had anyone go up to grade 8 and our music teacher only has one at this level. Interestingly the director of the JA told us that they set this one up to get more representation in national orchestras from this region as it is notoriously bad at producing musicians. Food for thought.

musicalfamily Fri 22-Mar-13 12:34:26

pianomama that's not a bad idea....

I've already asked my DD1 whether she wants to give DD2 violin lessons...save me an absolute fortune!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

pianomama Fri 22-Mar-13 12:36:38

I don't think it is a question up to what grade a teacher can get a pupil. He/she should be able to teach well even at the earliest level.
Otherwise you potentially let down /teach bad habits and do more damage then good.

RussiansOnTheSpree Fri 22-Mar-13 13:23:24

Family - yes, there is a huge regional variation, that is what we are telling you.

mistlethrush Fri 22-Mar-13 15:08:38

The thing is, these 'private school teachers' are just the same ones (normally) that you can get to teach your child at home - they are normally 'peris' who will get paid a set amount per pupil at the school or charge an amount per lesson at school. I have lots of friends that do this, and did this for a while myself too. So they do carry all the way through to Grade 8.

RussiansOnTheSpree Fri 22-Mar-13 16:36:41

@mistle Exactly. Private school parents are often desperate to tell others how much better the music is at their schools and are then somewhat dejected when they find out that while the facilities are almost always fabulous, the teachers are the same. DD1's first study instrument teacher has not only taught her from the start, she also teaches as a peri at the posh schools, and teaches for our regional JD equivalent scheme.

MTSgroupie Fri 22-Mar-13 17:41:49

Russian - it always make me grin when someone like yourself offer up an 'insight' on what goes on inside the head of a private school parent like myself.

MTSgroupie Fri 22-Mar-13 17:48:44

... Also, you are showing your ignorance as to what actually goes on inside private schools. At ours the serious musicians usually have teachers that are outside of the school. Do you seriously think that these tiger music moms are going to be happy with one 30min lesson a week?

SummerInSicilia Fri 22-Mar-13 17:56:08

Agree with Lily, so many people think Grade 8 is the highest possible standard of playing, but it's nowhere near. You should be well beyond that in your playing and get the teaching qualification too, before you think of teaching.

NatashaBee Fri 22-Mar-13 18:01:04

No, sorry. I am probably about the same standard as you these days and don't think I would be anywhere close to the standard required to teach someone good habits. I don't think even grade 8 is an indicator that someone is a good teacher. I guess I might be a bit happier about the idea of you teaching theory or being an exam accompanist. Or maybe a run a kids music class?

CloudsAway Fri 22-Mar-13 19:12:22

My teacher (not piano) only has gr8, plus primary school experience, and there are times when I find that her lack of further musical training has meant that she doesn't have the experience needed for some problems in technique, or for new repertoire that she hasn't done - she can play it all, but whether she is as good at analysing it musically and working out phrasing and style and so on, I don't know. She also won't teach anyone beyond gr8.

On the other hand, she's brilliant with the little ones. And in some ways, that's also what is important. I don't teach music, but I have at times taught some children things about reading music or rhythm etc that they haven't understood from their instrumental teacher. I only have gr8 piano too, haven't played for a while. And yet there are areas of teaching beginners that I might be able to do as well as a more experienced teacher. It's just the continuity thing that would be the problem, wanting someone who could teach through to the upper grades, which someone like me clearly wouldn't.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now