advice and fair pricing of lessons.

Questions on learning to play the piano, and piano music.

Moderators: Feg, Gill the Piano

Post Reply
New Member
New Member
Posts: 1
Joined: 12 Oct 2010, 14:49

advice and fair pricing of lessons.

Post by billevanslovechild » 12 Oct 2010, 15:20

Hi i have been playing piano for a while now but have been playing the keyboard for 20 years. I have tons of experience with playing with bands but less so with classical. I have taken a lot of courses in music (btec in popular music, hnd in music and a popular music degree-although the later was more written assignment based than performance.) I have my grade 5 in clasical and set to take six next month. If im to teach at home after christmas what things do i need to sort out. i already have a crb but a frinds mentioned a cri check? will i need to get a health and safety check as they're coming into my home? Also i own a clavinova and not an acoustic upright, will this be a hinderance/put people off being taught etc? sorry for the questions and the "life story" but i happened to come across this website looking for answers for the above. Many thanks,
Billevanslovechild! :piano;

User avatar
Colin Nicholson
Executive Poster
Executive Poster
Posts: 1833
Joined: 04 Jul 2010, 19:15
Location: Morpeth, Northumberland

Re: advice and fair pricing of lessons.

Post by Colin Nicholson » 12 Oct 2010, 19:23

You sound as though you have plenty experience in music (and ensemble work) by your qualifications. I have been teaching piano for nearly 30 years now - Grade 0 - Diploma, and never needed a CRB check nor any kind of "health & safety" certificate. I think this mainly applies to teaching groups or solo teaching in a school/college/uni., or if you are teaching in a centre, but teaching from your home should be OK.
As long as you don't drop down dead during the lessons, or the piano stool leg falls off, you should be fine. Also remember that no matter how many letters you have after your name, or even by having a teaching certificate, does not necessarily turn you into a good teacher of piano. Firstly, you will need ALOT of patience for beginners, and a good structure/ syllabus to go by - parents may want to see this.

I am just a little concerned that you only have Grade 5 "under your belt" - is this with ABRSM? and have you done the theory aswell? Most piano teachers work from the ABRSM syllabus for the graded exams, including practical & theory studies. Trusting you have achieved Grade 5 classically trained, and passed with distinction, then yes, you should be ok the teach beginners. Have you entered and passed your Grade 5 theory with ABRSM? - if not, then you can't do Grade 6 piano until this is passed, so it depends on the Music Board you are doing Grade 6 with.

Most music exams are conducted at a centre, and always use an acoustic upright or grand piano for the piano exams - never a digital piano or electronic keyboard. I am not 100% sure, but Trinity College once did keyboard exams, but not sure if they still do them.

Teaching classical piano also involves pedalling, both sustained and legato pedalling. However I have found that whilst most digital pianos can "play the notes" like a normal piano, and the sound is OK(ish), there is no provision for any electronic device at exam centres, music festivals and any of the Royal Colleges of Music. Pedalling on a digital is like trying to get some power out of a Citroen 2CV !! - and the left pedal (una corda) is a waste of time. The tone of an acoustic piano with real hammers and strings, rebounding from a soundboard cannot be compared...... so I would suggest that you eventually get an acoustic.

Learning classical piano, even from Grade 1, will involve some level of expression, right hand cantabile (with a softer left hand), and depending on the composer, a good understanding of rubato/ stretto - this can only be taught by a previous teacher - hands on - and not from any book.

Hope that's a good start.

AA Piano Tuners UK

Colin Nicholson Dip. Mus. CMIT CLCM PTLLS
Piano tuning & repairs. Full UK restoration service
Tuition ~ Accompaniment ~ Weddings
Member of The Guild of Master Craftsmen

Executive Poster
Executive Poster
Posts: 1470
Joined: 04 Apr 2005, 18:50
Location: UK

Re: advice and fair pricing of lessons.

Post by markymark » 13 Oct 2010, 21:43

The tone of an acoustic piano with real hammers and strings, rebounding from a soundboard cannot be compared...... so I would suggest that you eventually get an acoustic.
Doesn't he already have an upright piano?

As far as I am aware, London College as well as Trinity Guildhall require you to have passed Grade V theory before moving onto Grade VI practical. I might also add that ABRSM is not the only authorised and approved board out there. As someone who has passed through the older Trinity College of Music exams (now Trinity Guildhall) I have found it to be very good and recommendable. The improvements to the syllabus and theory booklets are excellent. I particularly like the emphasis starting to be placed on improvisation as an important musical skill, particularly given the fact that so many of today's piano players pass through exams and can't do anything without a piece of sheet music in front of them.

Incidentally, Trinity Guildhall does offer keyboard exams which go right up to diploma alothough the syllabus does point to more input from the candidate in terms of putting a program together for the practical exam.

It may be worth considering pushing into the more contemporary aspect of your playing. Trinity Guildhall offer the whole jazz opportunities in their syllabus too but you may also be interested in looking into Rockschool ( which sports itself as being the UK's only dedicated rock and pop examination board - it may be another option.

Gill the Piano
Posts: 4168
Joined: 25 Oct 2003, 19:39
Location: Thames Valley

Re: advice and fair pricing of lessons.

Post by Gill the Piano » 14 Oct 2010, 17:41

If you do the jazz piano exams - particularly the ABRSM, which I've seen, but probably the other boards are similar - you have a couple of pages of written music, and the second page has 8 bar segments interspersed in the written score with only pitches marked, upon which you improvise. This starts right from Grade one. I only wish it had been about when I was learning - then I wouldn't be one of the pianists Marky talks about who panic without a sheet of music!
I play for my own amazement... :piano;

Edinburgh Piano
New Member
New Member
Posts: 3
Joined: 17 Jan 2011, 09:02

Re: advice and fair pricing of lessons.

Post by Edinburgh Piano » 17 Jan 2011, 09:21

I think if you are teaching from your home, parents like to see a few things...

1. You have a good teaching structure (ABRSM, Trinity, Rockschool, etc).
2. You have experience (Hang any qualifications beside your piano).
3. A CRB certificate always gives parents piece of mind.
4. Maybe you have a downstairs room you can use for teaching which is nice and clean and very music orientated (no washing hanging up, junk in the corner, etc).
5. I believe presentation is very important, dress professionally, I wear a shirt and tie while I'm teaching.

These are a few basics that really make a difference. Hope it helps.

User avatar
Junior Poster
Junior Poster
Posts: 24
Joined: 11 Mar 2010, 12:39
Location: UK

Re: advice and fair pricing of lessons.

Post by samasap » 20 Jan 2011, 11:50

I think if you are going to trial teaching from home then don't worry too much about all the H&S procedures. I have a CRB check, a website which I get pupils from, and also Liability insurance incase somebody fell over or slipped when coming to my home.
But don't worry too much about all that.

It sounds like you have a lot of experience playing keyboards so mainly focus initially on teaching keyboards and piano up to a certain level.
Good luck and enjoy!

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 7 guests