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How do I Become a Piano Teacher?

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  • Written By: Tricia Ellis-Christensen
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Images By: Blueskyimages, Andrew Hyde
  • Last Modified Date: 18 November 2016
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There are many ways to become a piano teacher and lots of different types of teaching a pianist might pursue. Basic requirements for this profession are strong skills as a pianist, and ability to capably instruct others. Those who teach piano may have minimal or advanced levels of formal training, and might require specific levels of education or some form of credentials. Plenty of teachers are less formally trained, but by their own skills are qualified for general piano instruction or more specific teaching of playing certain types of music.

Most piano instruction is private lesson style, and a person might either choose to become a piano teacher full-time, or augment income by instructing students on a part-time basis. Occasionally, people teach piano in groups or they work in settings like performing arts schools or colleges where they coach or teach performers in small groups or individually. There are also some beginning piano programs that are taught to younger children, as part of enrichment programs, in public or private schools or there are some music-oriented schools or conservatories where children or teens may learn or hone piano skills in group settings.

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Sometimes the person who wishes to become a piano teacher gets teacher training, and offers a few classes in piano playing, but additionally organizes a school music program and conducts band, orchestra and/or choir. These teachers may need a bachelor’s degree in music education and a teaching credential if they teach in public or in many private schools. Other teachers have years of training and practice in the art of the playing the piano, typically learning the instrument as young children. They don’t necessarily need credentials, but over time they demonstrate their skill as teachers in the successful performances of their students and in their own performances or contributions to music.

There are different types of music in which a person wishing to become a piano teacher might specialize. Some teachers are classically trained and train students to play classical piano. Others are generalists, willing to let students learn some classical work, but also working with students on any pieces of music that are of interest to them, of any genre. Other teachers specialize in types of piano playing like blues, rock or jazz, and these teachers may be of most use to students who are interested in performing this type of music and who have already reached a certain skill level.

Since many piano teachers conduct private lessons, they have to be good at marketing. They may need to learn things like how to put up an attractive web page, how to make contacts, advertise, and market. The person who wants to become a piano teacher will also need strong teaching skills that confirm reputation and bring more students in via word of mouth or positive reviews of teaching skills. Piano teachers additionally need a good location for teaching if they teach privately, and clearly need at least one piano that students can use during lessons.

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