Want to begin teaching!

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I have just completed my Syllabus program and my teacher says I am ready to begin taking beginning students--she doesn't have time to mentor or advise me, so before I put my advertisement out, I would like to know what materials I should have on hand. I would like to offer beginning lessons to all ages, including adults. Should I first wait to have an initial interview with the student, see what age they are, and then rush off to the music store to get the materials needed for our first lesson? Also, any suggestion on what beginning method would be the most interesting and motivating for students who enjoy all kinds of music? Thanks! Rose

-- Rose (Babenpansyrose@aol.com), March 16, 2004


Check out http://www.serve.com/marbeth/piano.html for a LOT of great ideas about teaching, both the pedogogical aspect and the business side (tuition, studio policy etc.). The writer has developed her own course since she doesn't like method books--well worth reading about and understanding, even if you use a method book (as most of us do). She discusses the initial interview, which actually occurs at the first phone call. She points out that beginners are difficult to teach if you are not experienced, and suggests taking students who are late beginners or early intermediate, then working your way towards beginners. I agree with her on that, though it might not be practical, as you usually don't have a choice at first.

I recommend the Faber Piano Adventures method series. It is well put together, has enjoyable music in a variety of styles, and has a lot of supplemental material, including the best corresponding technique books on the market. It is a very easy series for a beginning teacher to use, as all the books correspond to each other, and there are plenty of suggestions to teachers on how to make it work. They also have an adult book. Check out fjhmusic.com for their information, and pianoteaching.com for a message board where you can get a lot of suggestions from experienced teachers who use these books.

Frederick Harris has recently published a brand new method called Celebrate Piano which is getting good reviews from teachers who have tried it.

I do not recommend the Bastien or the Alfred series, as it is harder for some students to learn to read music using their "position" method, and their music is not always the most interesting.

When you decide which method to use, you should have your own copies in addition to the student's copies. This is so you can study it and see where it is all leading to and where you're going next. Contact FJH publishers for a catalog of the Faber series, and you can order directly from them at a discount. Or your local music store may stock it, most do.

This will be a good time for you to plan all this, with summer coming up. Some kids like to get started in the summer, but maybe you'll have more calls in the fall. Good luck!

-- anon (noname_poster@yahoo.com), March 17, 2004.

Thanks so much for your response--that was a wealth of information that I will check out! I have heard good things about the Faber materials--will check it out this week. I did hear that beginners can be the most difficult--and then, I've also heard it's very difficult to correct problems of those greater than a beginner. This will be interesting, I can tell. I look forward to it! Rose

-- Rose (babenpansyrose@aol.com), March 17, 2004.

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