Piano class here in Khargar, Navi Mumbai, encompasses a wide variety of different kinds of classes and parents new to music and piano class get confused. Read here, about the 4 common misconceptions that piano teachers here struggle with and about why keyboard teachers who don’t play the piano should consider joining piano class.
No 1) The confusion about what piano is
Many parents think that the toy keyboard is a piano and ‘Casio’ is used to refer to keyboards of any brand, digital pianos and acoustic pianos (the big Casio).
Here’s a post that explains the difference between the acoustic piano, digital piano and the electronic keyboard without getting too technical : We have a keyboard at home, why should we buy a piano
No 2) The exam book is the lesson book & repertoire is not required
Parents and students know Trinity College London and want exams. They’re content with just 4 pieces a year and are often unable to connect music theory to the pieces they play.
Getting parents and students to understand the need for repertoire used to be a struggle. I found that I needed to talk to my beginner level piano students, explaining the need for learning repertoire and why I don’t use the exam book as my lesson book. I’ve recently introduced a compulsory Book Fee which students pay monthly, so it’s easy for families to budget.
No 3) Beginner level piano teaching is easy and should cost less
Piano parents generally undervalue the job of the piano teacher who teaches young beginners, until they actually sit in on piano class.
Here’s a few common perceptions about beginner level piano teaching :
– Teaching younger students requires less knowledge.
– Children can go to a qualified teacher later, when we’re sure they’re practising.
There is a lack of understanding that high quality beginner level teaching will stimulate student interest, creativity and musical understanding in young students. So, parents willing to pay reasonable fees for intermediate level teaching, often want beginner level class to be very very low budget.
A teacher needs to be qualified & experienced enough to produce results, in order to break this mindset and attract the kind of student families that value music education.
No 4) Attending class without practise regularly is fine
Solo piano class (one student at a time) lends itself to flexible teaching. Each student gets taught differently, depending on the students learning style and goals, however some level of regular practise is essential, so that the teacher can continue to teach.
Asking a non-practising students to take a break, and return when they’re ready to commit to practise makes sense. Students can use this break to attend a group class – either choir, rhythm or group piano class, and return to solo piano class later.
The demand for piano class, and lack of supply
When I first started teaching here in Khargar, there was very little interest in any kind of piano class, and huge demand for light holiday classes to teach children to play on tiny toy keyboards.
That’s changing, and I’m seeing a lot of interest in piano class, and a growing number of student families who are looking for quality teaching. Many of the teachers here only play keyboards (with the left hand playing chord inversions, using different rhythms) and don’t play the piano at all. There’s a gap in supply with just a few piano teachers in Navi Mumbai. So there’s scope for growth, for those teachers who are willing to invest in furthering their music education.
Links to related articles :
‘The way forward’ and interesting article by Karl Lutchmayer, concert pianist & lecturer, where he talks about making music concerts more accessible to the general public, and a lack of trained music teachers in India.
What do piano teachers ‘DO’? is a look into the work schedule of a piano teacher, outside of piano class time.