Is Grade 8 enough to teach piano?

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

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Maire
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Is Grade 8 enough to teach piano?

Post by Maire » 10 Jul 2018, 15:48

Hi, I'm new to the forum and looking for some advice. I did my grade 8 piano a few years ago and have been teaching a small number of students ranging from beginner to grade 2 for the past three years. I really enjoy teaching and have entered my students for exams - they have all done very well.

Recently however I have been asked a few questions - not by parents but by a relative - on whether grade 8 qualifies me to teach. I know it is not a qualification but I didn't think I was breaking any rules. So my question is - are they right? Should I be pursuing a qualification? I am in Ireland by the way so not sure if it is the same.

Gill the Piano
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Re: Is Grade 8 enough to teach piano?

Post by Gill the Piano » 10 Jul 2018, 16:16

Did you do ABRSM (Associated Board) exams? I taught from about Grade 6 onwards and didn't get complaints. As long as you're teaching carefully and thoroughly and not pretending to have ten teaching degrees then I don't see any problem. ABRSM do teaching courses and certificates I think and that would definitely be worth investigating. However a LOT of teachers aren't 'qualified' as such - my own first teacher wasn't and she gave me an excellent start. I think the ABRSM are aware of the desire of 'unqualified' teachers to be certificated (not certified!) and that's why they introduced the teaching courses which I believe are nothing like as scary as diplomas and so on. Many teachers who have no formal qualifications stop teaching their pupils after Grade 5 and pass them on to other teachers if they don't feel confident enough to take them higher. Experience is worth as much as a bit of paper sometimes, and a piece of paper doesn't always make a good teacher (I was horrible; no patience!). Have a look at the ABRSM Certificate for Music Educators course.
I play for my own amazement... :piano;

Maire
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Re: Is Grade 8 enough to teach piano?

Post by Maire » 10 Jul 2018, 16:30

Actually, I did my exams with the Royal Irish Academy of Music, but most people in Ireland use this board although ABRSM is also available here. I am not sure if the course you mention is run in Ireland but I will look into it, thankyou.

Gill the Piano
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Re: Is Grade 8 enough to teach piano?

Post by Gill the Piano » 11 Jul 2018, 15:36

It doesn't seem that they have a Certificate for Music Educator's equivalent. They do have a diploma in community and music group teaching but it doesn't seem to be the same sort of thing.
I play for my own amazement... :piano;

Feg
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Re: Is Grade 8 enough to teach piano?

Post by Feg » 11 Jul 2018, 19:41

I teach recorder (descant and treble) to children aged 7-11 at the local primary school. This is done as part of the PTA After School Clubs programme. Apart from learning to play at primary school, I have had no formal teaching in those instruments. Most of my older pupils take either treble recorder or another wind instrument at secondary school and one of my ex-pupils has a Masters in Performance in Flute - his mother credits me with starting on that musical path :) In my experience, the most important part of teaching anything is the connection between teacher and pupil - we all know of very fine musicians who cannot teach for toffee.

At university I was allocated a very good and well respected member of the Edinburgh Quartet as my violin teacher and I was miserable, hated going to her house for lessons. I could do nothing right 'her way' and there was no other way in her world.

There is always another way to teach anything - the sign of a good teacher is adapting your style of teaching to suit your pupil and not trying to force the pupil to do something in a way that they cannot cope with or do not understand. If you feel you can do that with kindness (another atribute my uni violin teacher lacked) then go for it.

Fiona

Maire
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Re: Is Grade 8 enough to teach piano?

Post by Maire » 12 Jul 2018, 12:30

Thankyou Fiona and Gill the Piano. I am already teaching but only a small few pupils - I get on very well and have great patience with them. I would consider further development of my own skills but currently can't afford the time or money and it is also difficult to find a suitable course. It doesn't seem worth pursuing years of a degree (even if I could afford it and had the prerequisits) because in the area where I live I am only likely to be teaching a few beginners who are playing for fun or perhaps doing early grades which I am well able for. Also they can't afford expensive fees so I keep my fees low.

So how should I handle it when someone asks me how do I think I'm qualified with only grade 8?

Feg
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Re: Is Grade 8 enough to teach piano?

Post by Feg » 12 Jul 2018, 16:06

Grade 8 certainly qualifies to you teach to at least the standard you are doing just now if not up to Grade 5. The fact that your pupils do well in ABRSM exams is testament to your skills as a teacher. I'm a good bit older and, hopefully, wiser than you and if a relative of mine asked me that question, my reply would be likely be unrepeatable in polite company. I suspect Gill say the same :lol:

A music degree will not qualify you any further as a teacher except to look good on paper. If you want to add further to your music qualifications, then go for whatever the next step up is from Grade 8. If memory serves, LLCM or similar if they still exist, was what my childhood piano teacher had.

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Re: Is Grade 8 enough to teach piano?

Post by Gill the Piano » 13 Jul 2018, 18:37

ABRSM also do a Dip ABRSM and there's a qualification to bridge the gap between that and grade 8. But I think it'd just point the person questioning your qualifications to happy pupils/parents - they are your references. And never say 'only grade 8', say Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music, Grade 8. Or the RISM equivalent. Or you could just buy a baseball bat... :twisted:
I play for my own amazement... :piano;

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