Category: Teaching Notes 教學心得

Calling Piano Teachers/All Music Instrument Teachers Out There!

It has never been easy to promote yourself, especially when you are a private piano teacher.

(or whatever kind of music instruments you teach).

people are like, “teachers shouldn’t have to sell themselves” , “we are not sales!”, “I just don’t know what to do, so I guess I’ll wait for students to discover me and show up at my door one day”.

I get your frustration. I never thought I had to promote myself as a piano teacher either.

So I waited and waited for too long to take actions.

I wanted to start teaching long time ago when I graduated with my master’s degree. I mean, I did start teaching, along with my successful performing career, which I loved and enjoyed. But I always knew inside of me teaching was my true calling. I just wasn’t given the opportunity to use it to the fullest.

But instead of being proactive about teaching, I went to do more study instead. So I thought by going back to school and get more degrees would help.

It didn’t.

I loved studying and learning, but studying and learning something that’s not directly related to what I really wanted to do – which was piano teaching – was basically a waste of time for that matter (I still learnt things but they didn’t contribute to what I wanted to do).

So what did I do? I quit. I quit everything and started to focus on piano teaching.

I started with 5 students. I couldn’t even pay rent with that salary.

People called me for performances, I refused. I guess I was being very radical and stubborn, but I also wanted to show myself there was nothing else I could do now but to really build my piano teaching career because I’d burnt that ship- I was at the point of no return.

It really pushed me to build my piano teaching career quickly. I set a deadline yet I achieved it in a much shorter period of time – because why? I needed it to happen. Of course I was working on it almost 24/7 – ok more like 18/7. I devoted time effort heart and soul into building my music teaching business.

Suffice to say, I made it.

But what I wanted to say is, there’s no glamor in working my bottom off for the career I truly wanted. I had to put A LOT OF EFFORT in building it.

Despite that fact that it was very tough process, lots of heartache, frustration, exhaustion and simply hard work, it was very rewarding and I would always be grateful to have taken that opportunity and run with it. It was my dream to teach in an environment in a way I wanted, to mingle with students I truly enjoyed teaching and making music/playing piano with. Even now when I look back it still puts a smile on my face.

I want you all new music teachers out there, whether you are piano teachers/violin teachers/cello teachers/double bass teachers/singing teachers/windwood teachers/even dance teachers, you can do it too. You just need to have a blueprint, a program, a map to guide you there. Then you would have less headache and frustration like I did.

Piano Teacher Training Course (Level I) : Online Real time course (via Skype)

(中文) Piano Teacher Training Course (Level I) : Online Real time course (via Skype)
鋼琴教師培訓班(第一級): 在線實時課程(通過Skype)

Course Information:
Whole course: 10 sessions
全個課程:10堂

Projects : 2 small, 1 final
功課:2個 assignments,1個final project

Sign up in April and Start in May!
四月註冊,五月開始!
General course content: this is a course specifically designed for piano teachers, therefore besides learning how to run your own studio, you would also learn about the basics of piano teaching, from choosing piano beginner books to writing lesson plans, from understanding basic piano technique to doing music analysis etc.
一般課程內容:這是專門為鋼琴教師設計的課程,因此除了學習如何經營自己的工作室之外,您還將了解鋼琴教學的基本知識,從選擇鋼琴初學者書籍到寫作課程計劃,從了解基本鋼琴技術做音樂分析等。

How to build a successful music/piano studio?

A lot of readers asked me this question. I get it, it’s hard to promote yourself. It’s even embarrassing, because we are musicians/pianists, we are artists, we are not for sale. But hey, don’t think about it in that way. If you want people to know you, you have to get out there and literally tell people that YOU EXIST. So here are a few pointers as to how to promote yourself in order to build a successful and thriving music studio of yours:

1. Start a blog

Share with your existing and potential students what you’ve got: what you know about music, piano and teaching. Just write something short and simple at the beginning  few lines every day, about what you’ve learnt and taught in lessons or some tips on practice and playing. Eventually you can write more and add more substance in your posts. 

2. Record videos

Record videos of your students playing in lessons or even your own playing. Teach people some basic music theories, like how to read or identify chords. 

3. Write something about yourself

Write about your educational qualifications, your experience in performance and teaching. Tell people about your teaching philosophy and style: it’s important for your potential students (and especially their parents) to know about your personally. 

4. Share your experience

People want to connect with those whom they feel familiar with. If you share your experience with your readers, they already feel like they know you before they’ve even met you-and I know that from my personal experience. Be authentic and genuine. 

Learn more from the podcasts below:

 

Enjoy your piano playing

You know, sometimes when I write, I get really worked up.

You know why? Because I care.

I care about how people teach, and how people learn.

Because I had “teachers” who screwed me up, never taught me anything, implied that I was bad at playing, trashed my confidence, without a care. And I vowed to myself I never would do that to my students, or hir any teachers who would do that to their students.

But I also had some wonderful Teachers who are great at what they do, who are good at their craft not only in playing but also more importantly in teaching. Those are great human beings who have inspired me to do the same for my students, every single day I teach and run my piano school.

So yes I might sound mean sometimes in my post, I am very straightforward and blunt about how I think and feel. And I think my readers would appreciate my honesty here.

Now, back to the main topic (which I always get derailed from for five paragraphs right from the start).

So, I want our students to enjoy playing the piano, and I also want you, my readers, who might not be our students (per se), to enjoy learning music and playing the piano. Why?

Because playing the piano is not a torture. It’s not a punishment. And for sure it’s not boring.

Certainly, it’s HARD sometimes. And sometimes it feels like HELL when you can’t get this one passage or a scale or a sight-reading exercise (gasp!! just think about that emoji that looks like “The Scream” by Edvard Munch) right. That can be a pain for a while. But that’s called struggle, and that’s how we learn and progress after we have managed that struggle.

So, I hope you have learnt something from me so far in the past seven and a half years on this blog – I know it’s hard to find it now as it’s sort of embedded in this complicated website of mine/my school. Anyone find it hard to find my articles on this site please let me know, I might separate this blog back to stand on its own if that helps. What I want to do here is to help you get better and enjoy more in your music/piano journey.

And forgive me if I have not been perfect – because I never said so. I might have made mistakes here and there and didn’t write all so eloquently at times because I was mad/confused/hurt/pained/wronged or whatever, but my intentions will always stay true.

Much blessings to all of you and happy playing,
TW

P.S. Hey, I have a new scales video (series) coming out, check out the first one here!

Some words of encouragement

I know I have written something rather harsh recently, and some readers might feel offended (“look at what she wrote! So negative and mean!”). To that, I am not apologizing at all. I write what I think and I know those who have been reading my blog in the last few years know that; I know they are here to learn and want to become better; and they also know I am not here to kiss anyone’s bottom.

So today, I want to talk about why I wrote that and point out there are reasons why people complain why things don’t work out the way they want them to be. And therefore if you want to learn something new and completely life transforming today, here’s your chance.

I want to bring you – teachers and students and parents – whatever your role is – to your attention why you haven’t gotten what you’ve always wanted, be it the right students /teachers/results.

The reason is : you haven’t tried hard enough.

“What? That’s it? Don’t you know how hard I have tried all these years with time, effort and money? Are you kidding me?”

One thing you have never tried enough is to change your mindset drastically and stick with it.

What do I mean?

You think, whenever you can’t teach well, it is because you don’t have the right student or right tool or right education or right area, or even worse, you don’t believe you can do it.

You think, whenever you can’t play well, it is because you don’t have the right teacher or right piano or right environment or right schedule or right time to have lessons/practice or even start learning, or even worse, you think you have no talent and you don’t believe you can ever play better even you try.

But really, have you tried? Have you gone 100% all the way to believe you can and do something about your teacher/student/lesson/practice situation? If not, for sure you would never get what you want.

Also, you have to really suck it up even when you feel down or frustrated or depressed and upset or painful or lazy or whatever negative emotions that come to you. Don’t let them stop you and derail you from where you want to reach. If you do, success would never happen to you as well. And please keep sulking and get upset with what I just tell you too so you can stop working towards what you want to reach.

And oh, those people who tell you you can’t make it or can’t change or laugh at what you are trying to do? If you want to succeed, stop listening to them. But hey, if you want to take a longer route to success and complain about why they say what to sabotage you, then listen to them so that you can fail at getting what you want.

You need to believe that you can make it happen, whatever it is. The future is in your hands.

So, whatever it is you want to change, YOU are the one who is responsible.
It’s not your teacher or your student or your parent or your child’s teacher.
You can change all that (except who your parents/children are).

If you think your (child’s) teacher is not the right teacher for you, find another teacher.
If you think your student is not the right student for you, finds other student.

I do encourage you to talk with your teacher/student about the issues you might have if you feel it’s about communication. Being sincere and open about the problems is a key step to better teaching and learning.
If you think you don’t know how to teach better, that’s okay, just find a way to learn to be better. Go take a course or even just read and listen more online. Talk with other teachers and ask those who know how and where to get the resources. Learn from better teachers. That’s how we learn. Great teachers are always learning. That’s how they become good and better.

Don’t feel like you are stuck when you can’t solve your teaching situation or playing problem or practice issue. There is always another way to do it.

The point is, have you tried hard enough to change it?

You are the only one who can make it happen for you.

So if you want to succeed, you have to change your mindset and do things differently from now on. And trust yourself, you have the power and ability to do this, because you really can.

Trust. Focus. Believe. And keep moving forward, one small step at a time.