Last night was our recital. Technically my second annual one, since last year I had one as well. This one felt more official, I had 9 students this year and I held it at our church instead of my house. Even though the venue was a bit more imposing, the kids did great. Not even one was rattled enough where they had to start over! I thought I was going to explode from being so proud of them. I was a little sad, too, since now they won’t be my piano kids anymore.
When I started teaching, it was really because I was being pressured into it. I had just become the pianist for our church, and two families in particular I had met were really on the hunt for a teacher. I had not taught before, and I definitely don’t think I’m qualified. I don’t have a degree in music, and after being taught mostly by lay teachers myself, I realized later in life that my music education had serious deficits. Thankfully I had other teachers as an adult and other experiences with music that helped me fill in some of the gaps. However, I still feel that years of playing with bad habits will always effect my performance. Let’s just say that I’m not a member of the school of thought, “Oh, you can teach! You play so well, just follow the books!”
When I found out that the previous teacher for one family had been a high school student, that’s when I decided that I would try it. I knew for the very beginners that I could teach them the rudiments of good technique, and I wanted to see what the older ones played like. Oh, did the older kids not like me at first. They had never heard of “theory”. It took me several months to get them used to the fact that I gave theory homework, every week. I should have called it “Miss Ellen’s School of Theory”. It was fun, though, watching them learn and picking out great music for them to play.
Now that I’m sending them on (and I recommended several professional teachers I’ve met at a piano teachers conference) I’m curious to know how they will do. I wonder what the other teachers will think. My main goal though (other than teaching theory) was to get them to feel the magic of making music, and there at least I know I’ve succeeded.
When we get moved, there’s a piano conservatory through the local college that offers lessons. I desperately need to find a teacher myself. I’m looking forward to playing for pleasure again, instead of the very functional playing that I do for my church. I hope that at some point in my life I can go back to school, I would love to study something boring like pedagogy. Then I can be a real piano teacher.