When you learn the piano, there is a chance that you want to be a piano teacher one day. There are many pianist who can be piano teachers but they may not be considered good teachers. Being able to play the piano, and being able to teach, are two different sets of skills.
First, you need to know how can you be a piano teacher in Singapore.
Just 2 questions to ask yourself:
1. Are you qualified?
It is quite clear that if you want to teach something, you must first have the proper skills first. If you want to teach piano, you have to play the piano well. In Singapore, most piano students go through the standard ABRSM or Trinity College of Music piano certification. These exams will determine the level of piano skills.
Usually, a Grade 8 in ABRSM piano is the minimum qualification you need to start teaching in most music schools. With a Grade 8 Certification, you can teach beginner grades, up to Grade 5. Thereafter, you will need to go for higher level of qualifications in order to teach higher grades. Over at The Happy Pianist, we have piano teachers with Grade 8, Diploma, Bachelor Degree, and Master Degree.
2. Do you know how to teach?
Teaching piano and playing piano are two different things. Many parents or students assume that the pianist with the highest qualification is also the best teacher. That is true to some extent only.
Teaching the piano requires a different set of skills, other than just playing the piano!
- A piano teacher has to know how to explain the process of playing music into simple steps.
- A piano teacher has to communicate in simple words to young students (especially for kids students).
- A piano teacher has to know what went right, and what went wrong when students make mistakes, and know how to get them back on track.
- A piano teacher has to plan the learning schedule for the student, and know how to maximise each student’s potential.
- A piano teacher also has to motivate the student when learning gets more difficult (or boring) at higher levels.
Basically, a piano teacher must have the necessary teaching skills as a school teacher!
If you have positive answers to the two questions above, yes, you can be a piano teacher!
But hold on… what if you want to be a good piano teacher who will get results, and get loved by parents and students, who will in turn refer all their friends to learn piano from you?
That’s where you have to be a Good Piano Teacher!
And from our observation and conversation with many parents and students who engage The Happy Pianist, here are the few characteristics of a good piano teacher:
1. Loves teaching
Good piano teachers will put their heart and soul to educate their students to make sure they learn the piano well, and enjoy learning it. A normal teacher may just buy a piano book and teach page by page.
A good teacher may modify the lessons by using songs from popular movies, or using little games to help students to learn better. Such as learning songs outside of exam repertoire.
One of the common complains we hear from parents are irresponsible piano teachers. These teachers often change the lessons timings or cancel lessons last minute. Or they can teach a student for a few months, and disappear without any notice. These behaviours are irresponsible on the part of the teacher and will affect his/her own teaching career.
Pianists who really want to go into teaching (part time or full time) must know that it is a long term commitment on both ways – the student is committed to learn, the teacher must be committed to teach. If teachers are in it for some quick money, then they should not come into teaching.
3. Constant feedback
A good piano teacher will provide feedback to the parents or students every lesson, or every month. This will help the students to see how far they have progressed and if they are on the right track.
These feedback will help the students to improve and motivate them to do better.
4. Firm, but not strict
We do receive emails from parents who wants to change the piano teachers of their children because the current teachers are too strict. Strict to the point that their children are hating the piano, and jump for joy when there’s no piano class.
When this happens, it means the teacher is doing piano lessons wrongly! It should be the other way round! Students who learn the piano should love the piano more, and always look forward to the next class!
But we do understand that teachers have to enforce rules or standards in class in order to get the lessons going. That’s the difference between firm, and strict.
When teachers enforce rules or standards, they have to understand “Is what I’m doing killing their joy of learning?” “Are these rules necessary? Is there other things I can do to help my students learn better?”
5. Updated with industry news
A good piano teacher will continue to learn piano, and seek continual improvement. The teacher will also stay in touch with latest trends in the industry – Is there a renowned pianist coming to town? Should I get my students to watch how this pianist play? Are there any change in syllabus and requirements for this year’s piano exam? Is my student ready to participate in piano competitions, like the Happy Music Festival?
There are many more characteristics of a good piano teacher, but the ones above are the most important ones. By possessing these qualities, you can be assured that parents and students will love your lessons, and also help you build your career as a full-time piano teacher.
At The Happy Pianist, we are always on the lookout for good piano teachers, and help them match students to build up their teaching career. We are strict in our selection and matching process to ensure we work with good teachers. If you would like to build up your teaching career with us, you can join us as a piano teacher here.