I'm a musician and I would like to give private lessons in piano but I don't have a degree. Should I pursue a degree first or should I go ahead and teach privately?
Jerryl from Yonkers, NY
Well, pursuing the degree would be great, if for nothing more than the bettering of yourself and your skills--especially with higher level students. It also gives you many more options.
As for the lessons, you don't need a degree to teach, if you are a skilled pianist and can break down what you know into teachable bites. Decide what age group you would like to work with, first. Do you have experience working with children? What age? Is there anyone who can attest to your skills teaching?
A local music store is often a good place to start (as is word of mouth if you're a "local"). Call around and ask the stores if they hire teachers. Some shops have a bulletin board where you can post a flier. Once you have made a "name" for yourself, you can go "independent".
If you know local teachers, you might ask for some early beginner referrals. You can always refer the clients back if you feel like you're getting over your head.
If you like small children, look into becoming certified in the Suzuki method--it is increasingly popular, and lucrative.
My 16-year-old (who has taken lessons steadily since she was four) has begun teaching. Goodness knows she doesn't have a degree, (yet). As long as you don't try to sell yourself as something you are not, you are fine! I know I did not look for degrees in looking for her teachers--I asked people I knew for recommendations.
You can most certainly give piano lessons to children without a degree. The previous poster has some excellent suggestions.
As a mom who had kids in lessons, I would say that someone who is good with kids and encourages creativity is by far the first thing I was interested in. The most qualified person they took lessons from was the least successful with my kids -- too hung up on theory books.
I agree. Reading up on piano pedagogy would be good, though. A subscription to Clavier magazine is great, "even" for those with degrees. We all need to keep ourselves refreshed!
Cantate (music teacher)
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