Piano Journey

Ellen By Ellen, 20th May 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>True Stories

This is a story of my piano lessons, how I started my business, how I would change things to start my piano lesson business again and what I learned.

Piano Journey

For many years I took piano lessons on Saturday morning and was always a faithful piano student to practice and do everything that my piano teacher asked of me. As the years went by my piano teacher told me that she had taken me as far as she could in my studies of piano playing. I spent time looking for another piano teacher, but those piano teachers were not teaching me anything that I did not already know.
Finally I decided that I would continue to practice on my own and wait for the opportunity to learn more about music theory. Since my main interest in piano has always been music theory and how the music is put together and the history of music and the composers.
Living near a community college I found out that the college offered a course in piano playing. Since I had already taken many years of piano lessons the piano class was very easy. I also asked my piano instructor if it would be possible to take private piano lessons and to my delight he agreed to do so.
I practiced the piano pieces at home that we had all learned in piano class, along with practicing every major and minor scale. I knew that at the end of our piano class that we would be required to play any of the major and minor scales and know the correct fingering for each scale. We would also be required to sight read a piano piece.
During our class time each piano student was required to play in front of the rest of the piano class. With all the practicing that I did I had no reason to be nervous, but I still was. Performing in front of people was never my strong point.

Piano Journey

Once piano classes were done and I had received my passing grade I contacted my piano teacher to get his input about the possibility of me teaching piano lessons. He thought that was fine as long as I stayed with beginner piano students. I was agreeable with this plan and put my notice on a bulletin board at a nearby store and while I waited I put my piano studio together.
Getting the piano tuned and the piano bench fixed up, the next thing I bought was a desk with a big calendar to write the days and times for the piano students. I also had a computer of which I kept track of the income and money paid out for piano lesson books.
One day I received a telephone call from a mother, who desired information about her daughter taking piano lessons from me. I helped the mother decide a day and a time for her daughter to come and begin her piano lessons. As time moved on I received more telephone calls of more parents requesting information about piano lessons for their children. All of the children had little to no experience at all. Some of the children came from other piano teachers and it was interesting to hear the reasons why they left one piano teacher for another piano teacher.
One piano student told me that her former piano teacher made her practice. I told my new piano student that I also asked my piano students to practice. One mother wondered why her daughter would need to have a piano. She thought that her daughter could learn everything in one lesson and was very put out with me when I suggested for them to get either a piano or keyboard. Another student who came to me did not want to use her left hand when playing the piano. That very day with her first piano lesson with me, she started to use her left hand and realized that it was not as bad as she thought it was going to be.
As the children learned to play the piano I was also learning the most efficient way in which to run my piano lesson business. I soon learned that it was best to have one or both parents present at the children’s piano lessons. When I first began giving piano lessons the children were dropped off and the

Piano Journey

parents would come back to pick them up. Soon it became quite obvious that this plan was not working. The children were telling their parents that I had said this or that, so in order to keep things straight and communication flowing between, piano teacher, piano student and parents I told all parents that one or both had to be present at each piano lesson for a piano lesson to be given.
If I was to do piano lessons again I would make changes that would benefit the piano students and the piano teacher. First of all I would give piano lessons to piano students from ages 8 years to 18 years. Giving piano lessons to children younger than 8 years of age is not my cup of tea. I just do not have the patience for younger children. It is best to admit to my weaknesses in order to enhance my stronger points. Once a piano student has graduated from high school they are looking into going to either college or a technical school and might be moving out of the area. They are growing up and they need time to decide what path they want to pursue.
I use to give piano lessons to a few adults, which was a waste of my time and their time and money. Most adults are trying to recapture their youth by taking piano lessons. Many will not practice and will do the same lesson over and over. The time could be utilized better by having the children fill those spots.
My days and times for piano lessons would be during the week from Monday through Friday from 4:00 p.m. to 6 p.m. with the weekend completely off. This would limit the number of piano students that I could take, but it would also help me not to become burnt out, and be able to help piano students better by having some time off between piano lessons.
Many piano students take piano lessons at the insistence of their parents. It is often the case where the parent wants to live their childhood through their child. I remember one piano student that no matter how much she practiced she just could not seem to get anywhere. Luckily she had a wise mother who

Piano Journey

asked her daughter what she was really interested in and when the daughter told her mother, the piano lessons stopped, and the daughter was able to pursue her dream of what she really desired to do.
One important lesson that I learned in giving piano lessons is to give my piano students a three month probation period and after three months see how they are doing and have a serious talk with the piano student and their parents to see if it is a wise decision to continue the piano lessons.

Tags

Books, Business, Lessons, Music, Parents, Piano, Students, Theory

Meet the author

author avatar Ellen
I write children's stories. Have one book published, Working on another children's book. It is a series.

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author avatar Lady Aiyanna
20th May 2013 (#)

I started teaching the piano at the age of twelve and sending up candidates for the Trinity College of Music too. My teacher first did this based on the fact that I was well aware of teaching because of lineage and had vast knowledge because of my years of playing prior to coming to him. I only started my Graded Examinations with him. This meant that the minute he liked my teaching skills, that included teaching some of his beginner students, he got me my own students and I trained them and not without monitoring, he would check them from time to time and they were able to play every single piece perfectly as I never went ahead unless they knew every piece and technique associated with it.
My break in theory for higher grades came in when a candidate, who was learning with another teacher confessed to my teacher that she had no idea what she was doing in the exam and the date was just two weeks away. He just handed her to me and I trained her for the examination, which included taking her home and sitting with her the whole day till she got the work at the tip of her fingers. It was the Grade 4 Theory Decider exam as this consolidated all the knowledge of the first three grades and back then Grade 5 meant readiness to take on the Grade 8 Practical Playing. She did well scoring in the 90's for the scatter brain that she was. Don't get me wrong she was brilliant student but unfortunately just too much of a child aged 10 to be able to understand the brevity of a Grade 4 examination in theory. I was 13 but it didn't make much of a difference.
Over the years, I trained many pupils in both Practical and Theory of Music and had my own brand name come into being. This brand name has been given to my mother while I started my own just this year, Lady Aiyanna Centre of Music sending up one candidate for the Theory and Practical Examination of Trinity College of Music London. The student was not mine but had no teacher, I adopted him, trained him in three week and got him to see his true gift of music in that time that included finishing his Grade 2 pieces in 3 days for an examination that is to be held in September. None the less, practice makes a person perfect and am no stranger to this as music is all about developing style and building rapport with the students and not much their parents who only come for their progress reports on designated Open Days organised by me. I tell them off if they don't conform to rules and have been known to march them out with their kids should they argue with me wanting to sit through the class. I threw one such candidate out only because she did this three months ago and have no regrets as she caused havoc and harm trying to destroy the whole working of the music school and getting pupils to leave. Let her daughter complete the examination but told her don't ever come back here again too.
None the less that is from over 22 years of piano teaching experience, not sure how long you have been in the business but I wish you well.... My name is quite a well known name in TCM London for quality and perfection of my students with 100% passes in both practical and theory till date which included having my name on the certificates of students as part of the Music school. I also pull them out a day before the examination if they are found unfit and ask them to submit a medical ailment certificate if needed to avail a half rate the following year. If you don't practice you pay the price with this and that is who I am in the Music Business.
Now venturing into Recorded and Artistic Popular Culture music and am rated NZ Rank 3 with just three Demo song released for assessment about 10 days ago. None the less, that is my dream that I am following now along side some students just for fun as I love to teach. Money is secondary it comes automatically....

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author avatar Ellen
27th May 2013 (#)

Sorry for being so long in getting back to you. Your experience in teaching piano far passes my experience and I no longer teach but I wish you continued success with your teaching.

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author avatar Lady Aiyanna
20th May 2013 (#)

I also train people in the Trumpet, Flute and the Bugle. Actually Percussion and woodwind instruments is more like it which includes getting people to go to the beat of the drum if needed back on the piece and song in mind. I love doing this and used to do this as a child....

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