A Little Inspriation

As the year wears on sometimes we just need a little boost of inspiration. Creativity comes in many forms. Last weekend I attended the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. To meet so many people that are passionate about their craft was wonderful. The amount of new ideas was also inspiring. Sometimes I feel that as musicians we get so rooted in tradition that we forget to look outside the box. So this week take a look around. Whether you are taking piano lessons, playing the piano for enjoyment, singing in a choir, or just trying to make it to the end of the school year, try to find something new and fresh.
Here is a picture of one of my purchases. It is a supported spindle that is hand turned by a friend.


What Qualifications Should a Piano Teacher Have?

Last week we talked about how to find a piano teacher.  Another part of finding the right teacher is making sure they have good qualifications.  So what qualifications should you look for in a piano teacher.


1.  Does the teacher have a degree in piano or music?  This could be a Bachelors, Masters or  DMA of Music in Performance, Pedagogy or Education.  While a degree in music doesn’t always make a good teacher, it does ensure that the teacher has gone through a rigorous course of study in their field.


2.  Does the teacher belong to professional organizations?  This could be NCMTA/NMTA , NFMC, or the National Piano Guild.  For more local examples, the teacher might belong to their area piano teachers forum or guild.  Most of these organizations have membership requirements and teachers must meet them to have different levels of membership. 


3.  Can the teacher supply you with examples of musical achievement for themselves or their students?  Have the students placed well at local festivals and competitions?  If it is a younger teacher, did the teacher place well in the same competitions? 


4.  Can the teacher supply references?


5.  Is the teacher active in the local music community?  Teachers need good contacts.  If they are participating in the musical community, then they are more likely to hear of opportunities for their students.  


So for an example, let’s look at my qualifications:


Heather N Brunner

Charlotte, NC- Piano Teacher

Educational Background:  BM and MM in Piano Pedagogy from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale

Number of Years Teaching:  10

Professional Memberships: 

1.  NMTA, NCMTA and Charlotte, NC chapter of NCMTA.

2.  NFMC

Student Participation:

NCMTA Charlotte Area Festival-

NCMTA Western State Festival

NFMC Festival

NFMC Scholarship Festival

Current Community Participation:

NCMTA  Festival Charlotte Area Chair 2012

NFMC Scholarship Festival Charlotte  Chair 2012

Accompanist for local high school choirs

Does Your Piano Teacher Vacation?

Since summer is here.  Let’s talk about the subject of vacations.  As a piano teacher, my schedule has some flexibility.


My husband and I like to travel in the fall when it is cooler and crowds are lower.  Also, from about mid-January to the beginning of May, most of my weekends are filled with piano related activities that relate to my students.  Did I mention that all of those weekends are unpaid? Yes, that’s right folk.  Your piano teacher has to volunteer time so that your student can participate in festivals.  Now most of the piano teachers don’t mind working those weekends.  If you add in additional weekends for recitals and then for studio class, that is a lot of time outside of lessons that your teacher is dedicating to their students. 


So if you teacher lets you know well in advance and offers ample make up lessons or payment options for time that they will be away, please try to be understanding.  Most families are very understanding about vacation time away from the studio.  If your teacher has excessive absences on short notice, then that is a bird of a different feather.


Oh yeah, did I mention that Walt Disney World is offering free dining again in September?