Become a “Expert Teacher?”

Today I interviewed a potential teacher for my music school. The woman’s interview was really refreshing, because she was honest about her playing skills and teaching abilities. She flat out said that she wasn’t a phenomenal performer (a solid late intermediate pianist) but she was a great teacher for beginning students! If you think about it the desire to be a good teacher is more important than your virtuous abilities to perform. Now don’t get me wrong, you do have to be able to play your instrument well to be a private music teacher, but most importantly you have to be willing to become an “expert” in your area of teaching. To become an “expert “teaching private music lessons you have to be willing to learn yourself. You have to learn about teaching, learn about music that is available to teach, and most of all learn from your own students. If you pay close attention to the students you are teaching you will see each child or adult has their own learning style so how you teach one child to count a complicated rhythm is not the same way you teach another child. When I first started teaching I had a music degree and had spent years learning my instrument, but I still didn’t feel like an “expert” so I made myself a competent private piano teacher, by teaching students and learning as I taught beginners and by doing the following: • Joined the local MTA (music teachers association) to meet other teachers • Attended piano lectures and master classes • Read books about teaching and performing music • Volunteered and observed other private music teachers • Became Nationally Certified Teacher of Music (NCTM) from the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) This is a few of the steps I took to go from a college kid that could play piano to an “expert” piano teacher. My personal goal is to always improve myself and my teaching ability. This is where I ask my audience for feedback. So what’s your plan for becoming a better music teacher in 2009 I would love to hear your comments and feedback. I would also like to hear if other people have done some of the things I have done and have they worked for you?