Types of Teachers

Teaching piano is a difficult profession because practically everything you try to do contradicts something else that should be done. If you teach reading, the student may end up unable to memorize. If you teach slow, accurate play, the student may not acquire sufficient technique in any reasonable amount of time. If you push them too fast, they may forget all about relaxation. If you concentrate on technique, the student might lose track of musical playing. You need to devise a system that successfully navigates through all these types of contradictory requirements and still satisfies the individual wishes and needs of each student. There was no standard text book until this book was written, and starting teachers had to invent their own teaching systems with very little guidance. Teaching piano is a Herculean task that is not for the faint of heart.

Historically, teachers generally fell into at three categories: teachers for beginners, intermediate students, and advanced students. This specialization developed because each student had to spend a considerable amount of time at each stage, and made it difficult for any one teacher to teach successfully, independently of other teachers. The most successful approach involved a group of teachers composed of all three categories; the teachers were coordinated in such a way that their teachings were mutually compatible, and the appropriate students were directed or passed on to the appropriate teachers. This assembly of different teachers into a group was necessary because teaching methods were inefficient and not standardized. Thus many teachers of advanced students often refused to take students from certain teachers because the latter "do not teach the proper fundamentals". This should not happen if the fundamentals are standardized.

The three categories of teachers were needed because it was a waste of resources for teachers capable of teaching intermediate students to be teaching beginners. In addition, most advanced teachers have not been good teachers of beginners. The last thing an advanced teacher wanted was a student who was initially taught all the "wrong" methods. This is not the ideal situation. In the ideal scenario, any teacher should be able to teach any student at any level and quickly bring them up through the different levels. If the students progress sufficiently rapidly, it will not make any sense for teachers to specialize at each level, and the student can progress to the end using only one teacher's system. Hopefully, with the advent of this book, and the vast amount of information now available on the internet, most piano teachers will be able to adopt the more ideal model of teaching.