I started teaching stuck on one particular method, no matter the age. Though that method is somewhat newer and still popular, like many methods, it had some problems that made it hard to continue after a few books. The students I taught with that method, though able to play, had some hiccups in a very particular book. As a teacher I thought it was better to switch methods rather than continue to have problems. I now have students in about 3 different methods and even more sub methods. I pick out the materials based on child’s age, previous music experience and what they hope to learn. Some students do well with methods geared towards very young beginners while other students with previous instrumental studies find beginner books childish. A good teacher can use any method and make it the best for there students.
Most of the materials that I use have been published or updated to a second edition within the past 5 years.
How are you learning about what's new in piano teaching?
Just like school teachers often have ongoing education, as a nationally certified piano teacher, I also have ongoing classes/ conferences to attend. In 2011 I have attended 2 conferences, meeting other teachers / composers and seeing the newest teaching methods. Doing so brings me the opportunity to ask questions and learn more about the music. As an MTNA (Music Teacher's National Association) member, local music teachers meet to discuss new songs, books, and other helpful things we are reading, or bring in clinicians to hear what they have learned recently. I receive a magazine specifically for piano teachers called the Clavier Companion, which recently ran a series talking about many major piano methods. They also write about many performers and composers present and past.
Do you offer recitals or group lessons?
At the moment I do not offer formal recitals due to studio size. I do offer group lessons approximately every 6 weeks for all the students, which include a performance from each attending student. The Christmas and April group lessons have a more formal performance offered at my home called a group lesson party. The parents are invited to sit back and listen to what the students have learned while enjoying snacks and playing games. I do this so that the pressure of the formal recital is avoided. I do think that is important for students to share music with others, encouraging a “family recital” from time to time; meaning that when grandparents or other relatives are around it’s a good time to share music with them that they are learning on the instrument that the student already know. When the studio gets bigger I will start doing more small recitals in nursing homes and such. I do offer participation in local music competitions if a student and their parent would like to participate.