Forum Q&A's, Studio Business

Forum Q&A | How Did You Become A Piano Teacher?

Well, unfortunately we didn’t get many responses to the last two week’s Forum Q&As about group lessons!  I guess nobody wants to share their secrets.  Just kidding.  =)  We did get a few good responses, which you can check out here and here.  It’s not too late to add your comments, if you are willing to enlighten us.  =)

This week’s topic is a fun one!  Please share: How did you become a piano teacher?  Tell us all about it.  Here are a few prompt questions to get you thinking back to those early days:

How did you start teaching piano?  Who was your first student?  Who inspired you to be a piano teacher?  Did you always know you would be a piano teacher?  Did you have a mentor?  What kind of piano did you teach on?

If any of you have your own blog, feel free to share your story there and leave a link here in the comments.  I can’t wait to hear your stories!  I’ve just put mine in the comments.  =)

Photo Credit: kevin mullet | CC 2.0

10 thoughts on “Forum Q&A | How Did You Become A Piano Teacher?”

  1. Okay, I’ll start us off!

    Growing up, I’ve always known I would be a teacher — I just didn’t know it would be in music. I’ve been taking piano lessons since about age 6 or 7. My mom taught me from her old John Thompson books for about the first year and I soaked it all up. I had a very inspiring teacher later during Junior High who was probably the one who made me want to be a piano teacher someday. After she moved away, I took a year off from piano lessons during high school because of how busy I became between work and homework. This made me realize just how much I loved piano and I sightread/practiced more than ever that year without a teacher! I soon began teaching a few of my own students (my then-boyfriend’s two sisters). When college decisions came around my Senior year, I had no idea where to go or what to do, so I decided to take music classes at the local community college for my first semester since I knew I’d never regret learning more about music theory/history/etc. It turned out to be a perfect fit for me and I graduated two years later with an Associate’s in Piano Performance. By this time, my little piano studio had somehow grown from 2 to nearly 20! From there, I transferred to get my Bachelor’s degree, and now two years later, I have just graduated with my Master’s. Now I get to continue doing what I love best: teaching as many piano students as I have time for! I feel so blessed to have been given a calling and career that I can enjoy so much. =)

  2. I’ve taken piano lessons since 4th grade & always loved music. I taught my own children for about a yr. then decided an outside teacher might be better. The teacher they went to had a large piano studio & I loved her method(s) of teaching. One night she asked me if I’d be interested in teaching some beginners in her studio so I spend around 4 yrs. with her learning a lot.

    Recently when I moved to the southwest I couldn’t find a job so said to myself I always had wanted to open my own studio so spend 6 mos. planning & getting everything in order. I started with a couple of students to around 11 the 1st year, the 2nd yr. things really boomed & have about 38 students at present. I love the flexibility, teaching, creativity and just plain fun of teaching piano and it’s a good fit right now.

  3. I just started teaching last fall. I had taken lessons as a child, played piano on and off over the years, and ended up playing for my church congregation. After hitting a wall, I decided to challenge myself more by learning harder pieces and studying theory. My greatest influence has been my children’s music teacher of 10 years. When I told her I was interested in teaching piano to a boy in church, she said, “You should teach!” I wanted to be involved in our local Music Teachers Assoc, so I joined as a provisional member and have received a lot of support from the local teachers. I have only 6 students, but I love every one of them. I am 40 years old, but I am in my “early days” of teaching right now. I look forward to getting to know more students, and becoming a part of their lives, as our music teacher has become such an important a part of ours! I am also so thankful for resources like this one on the internet. I love reading all your posts and checking out your links. The experience you share is invaluable!

  4. I started taking piano lessons when I was 5. Like many, my mom was my first teacher. Lessons continued into high school, until I quit at the age of 15 — at that time I started focusing more on voice lessons. At the end of high school I decided to continue music in college, and then resumed taking piano lessons the following year. At 23, I graduated with a a BM in Vocal Performance, with a secondary focus in piano. My plan at that point was to get my PhD, and teach to teach college. Rather than going straight into school, I took a year off — during that year I was sought out by my younger sister’s piano teacher — she wanted me to help a fellow piano teacher with his studio while he recovered from a bone marrow transplant. So, I became a piano teacher — and I loved it. Soon after that, I found two local music stores and started building my own student roster. Five years and one Master Degree (Musicology) later, I have 40 piano and voice students. This past October, I opened my own private studio only 4 minutes from my house. Having my own studio is absolutely amazing. Like I said.. I never thought I’d be a piano teacher, but I am so glad that I am!!

  5. I never imagined I would teach piano. My neighbor and fellow church choir member wanted me to teach her granddaughter, and my own daughter was ready to start at that same time. So I decided to try teaching the two of them. I got advice from a friend who teaches and the expert at our local music store. I have been teaching now for 3 years and have 10 students! I still feel in over my head!! :)

  6. I never really planned to teach piano. However, some friends approached me and asked if I would be willing to teach their grandson (whom they are raising). He has pretty severe ADHD. I was his Webelos Den Leader, and he went to the same bus stop that my daughter did, so he was already comfortable with me, and they thought that was the only way it would work for him. They said he had expressed some interest in trying, but they warned me that he often loses interest quickly, and they’ve found it’s best to just back off when that happens. I’ve had to stretch myself to find new things all the time to keep him excited and interested, which isn’t always easy. However, it’s amazing to me how far he’s come! He’s got such natural talent, and I’m so glad he’s stuck with it for this long (almost 3 years now)! We used to have times during Cub Scouts that he would just shut down, and there was nothing that anyone could do to bring him out of it. We’ve never had that happen during a piano lesson. It’s really been fun to see him progress so much. It’s especially fun when he gets excited about a particular song or activity.

    A little while later, a high school student that I know asked if I would be willing to give her lessons. It’s kind of gone from there. Several others have approached me on their own to ask if I give lessons. I’ve never gone out looking or advertising for students–they seem to find me :)

    I don’t know where I’ll go from here. I’m trying to keep it small right now when my kids are so little, but who knows what’ll happen later?

  7. I started taking piano lessons when I was about 7, and my first teacher was my brother, who was 3-1/2 years older than I, and had started lessons earlier that year. I started with my first “real” teacher several months later and amazed her by completing Alfred Level 1A in 3 lessons! I had this same teacher through early high school, and she said many times that I would teach piano someday.

    My first students came when I was in high school. A couple of girls from my church, a cousin who wanted some extra help – things like that. Nothing that ever lasted more than a few months at a time, but it was good experience for me.

    I graduated from college in ’07 and moved to IL at Christmastime in ’08. At the time of my recital earlier this month, I had 18 students. My target number for my studio right now is 25 students, which I hope to meet by the end of this year.

  8. I started taking piano lessons when I was 6, and I always knew I wanted to study music in college. I started teaching my first student as a freshman in high school, and taught several students through high school. I taught off and on during college until I graduated with my BM in piano last December. I now have over 20 students, and I’m loving every minute of it!

  9. I started teaching piano when I was a college student and decided to teach part-time to earn money on the side. I didn’t realize that I would learn to love working with children so much and that teaching music would become my passion! I never knew I would become a piano teacher.

    I first started teaching after-school keyboard classes at a local elementary school. The students played on old, non-touch-sensitive mini keyboards. The instruments were awful but I formed my structure and plans for teaching. Eventually, I moved to a music school where I taught private and group piano classes. I haven’t turned back since!

  10. About 10 years ago, when I was 15, several family friends approached me asking if I would teach their children. I was definitely not ready for it at the time, but those 6 students definitely gave me quite a bit of experience in such little time! (I had been playing myself since the age of 5, but was relatively lacking in good technical training, which hurt me quite a bit) Throughout undergrad, I focused more on tutoring in music theory (for which there was quite a need–and the school offered piano lessons for credit, and I wasn’t a piano major anyway), and it wasn’t until about a year ago that I got back into teaching, quite by accident. I had been tutoring a high-school student in music theory and her mom asked if I would add piano to our weekly theory lessons. After working with her exclusively (on piano, anyway), I’ve just started working with two more students, one of whom is offering me voice lessons in exchange. I might also have the opportunity to take on several former students of a teacher who’s moving across the country–pending scheduling, of course, since I’m still a full-time theory PhD student! If I find that I have some time between coursework completion and finding a full-time academic job, I would love to have a larger piano, composition and theory studio…we’ll see when the time comes!

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