I worked as a piano teacher in a private music school when I was doing my PhD. Teaching a musical instrument to children may be a really rewarding experience and it may also help you build skills you didn’t even know you had until then, such as planning, adapting your communication skills to the student’s ability or personality. Furthermore, it is always fun to work with children in a one to one or small group setting, as you can watch their progress closely and also sometimes rediscover the childlike, playful side of your self. I also had to work with adult students, which was also a rewarding experience, as it always feels great to help people make their (often childhood) dream of playing an instrument come true. I believe that the role of a piano teacher is often much more than just someone who helps you learn technical things; it often extends to helping people build their confidence, broaden their horizons and sharpen their thinking in general.
However, I was really disappointed on the level of education offered to pupils in that specific music school. The tuition fees were quite high but the teachers’ pay was not as good as expected. The worst part, though, was the fact that I was sort of “fired” after a couple of years of working there, with the employer practically breaking our contract and explaining that I was too expensive for the school so he couldn’t afford me anymore. I also found out by a student of mine I had developed a friendly relationship with that the school lied to my students about the reasons of my departure, and waited until the beginning of the following term to let them know I wouldn’t be there after they had already pre-paid their tuition fees for the entire term. The students ended up having lessons with the secretary of the school, who was not qualified to teach the piano (she did not even hold a grade 1 qualification). I think musicians should be very careful when working for private music schools, as there are – unfortunately – a lot of people out there who are not qualified to teach or run a music school and are only interested in making a profit and taking advantage of the parents’ insufficient knowledge of music education.
Andriana, London, 14 October 2016.