Making Every Lesson a Special Occasion

Pathways for Teaching

When I started teaching full time back in the 1990s, the best known teacher in my neighbourhood was Sidney Pope, a venerable older gentleman who tuned pianos by day and taught the local children once the schools turned out in the afternoon. Sidney continued teaching until his health finally gave out, and was a much loved and very able teacher.

I was a tuning client of Sidney’s, and when he learnt that I was entering the fray as a teacher he couldn’t have been more encouraging, referring pupils he couldn’t personally fit into his busy schedule, and generously sharing a lifetime’s advice.

This perplexingly included his list of rules for student conduct; rules which were certainly very thorough…

Teachers today tend to provide contracts that for the most part relate to parental behaviour – paying on time, not cancelling at the eleventh hour, and so on. Sidney’s rules pertained to the children themselves, outlining his expectations of practice, attitude in lessons, and even the clothing they wore.

In this regard, Sidney’s demands were crystal clear: boys’ shirts must be tucked in, and dresses or skirts were compulsory for the girls – no trousers!

Why, I wondered in my professional naivety, should girls not be allowed to wear trousers to their piano lessons in 1992?

Sidney patiently explained that piano lessons must be regarded as a special occasion, and that students benefitted from making an effort to dress up accordingly…

Continue reading Making Every Lesson a Special Occasion

Preparing for GDPR: A Piano Teacher’s Perspective.

I would like to thank Liz Giannopoulos for this exclusive article which will be of special interest and importance to all piano and instrumental teachers working in the UK.

Guest post by Liz Giannopoulos

Introduction

The new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will apply in the UK from 25 May 2018. For many private music tutors this is already causing uncertainty and confusion.

The summary that follows is the outcome of the research I have completed and steps I have taken to ensure that my piano school is compliant with the new legislation.

PDF download of full article: 
Preparing for the GDPR – A Piano Teacher’s Perspective

About the Author

Liz Giannopoulos is the founder and director of Encore Music Tuition Ltd, a thriving piano teaching group in SW London. Encore Tutors share a love music, a passion for teaching and unwavering commitment to delivering the highest quality tuition to every student. Together, they coach more than 130 piano students on a weekly basis.

Liz Giannopoulos

In addition to giving private piano lessons in her music studio and at local primary schools, Liz uses her experience of teaching and learning to coach and mentor the team of Encore Music tutors.

In 2015, she founded Battersea Piano Festival, an annual amateur piano competition. In 2012 Liz completed ABRSM’s Certificate of Teaching and Diploma in Instrumental Teaching. Liz is Mum to two musical boys and a relentlessly keen piano student herself; the family motto is “never a quiet moment”!


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Piano Lessons: More than a commodity

While the vast majority of my students (and their parents) over the last quarter century have been appreciative and respectful, as well as being generous toward other students in my practice, there’s been a very small minority who seemed to have different priorities.

In this article I will examine what happens when a student or parent treats piano lessons purely as a commodity. I hope that teachers will come away feeling more able to spot the signs, and better empowered to develop a piano teaching practice that works well for the benefit of all.

For the purposes of this article I will call these parents and students ‘super-consumers’. If my portrayal is somewhat a caricature, it is for the purpose of emphasis, so that you can spot the problem signs more quickly and easily.

Continue reading Piano Lessons: More than a commodity