I've been thinking about being a part-time violin teacher to make some money after graduating high school. Does anyone remember the order of teaching pieces to starters? All I can remember is that I started with twinkle twinkle little star, the Suzuki books, and scales.
If you're teaching an absolute beginner, I'd start by teaching the basics of violin technique and then Suzuki Book 1.
Please, I beg of you, do not try teaching the violin at this stage of your own development. Or if you must, offer lessons at a very low price only to those students for whom lessons with a professional are prohibitively expensive.
I don't know how well he plays. I think it's good to practice on students who can't afford professional lessons or don't live near a teacher etc if there's a teacher shortage in the area, since teaching is a different art from playing. The teaching skills he acquires from this experience can be useful for other disciplines, too. I agree on charging lowish prices, but he's probably got some other job because he says he's only teaching part time. I once got an offer to teach a student (I'm no pro) with some experience. They previously had a teacher, but the teacher moved away and they never took lessons again. I once said that I would only teach them if a professional teacher was out of the question, but the person didn't respond (this business was a whole email conversation), so I assumed I hurt them with this comment and gave a bad impression. I don't think it really turned out that way, but there's a whole lot of details I don't know.
I assume there are teachers in his area since he's evidently taking lessons, at least I hope he is. I have seen too many students ruined by well-meaning but inadequate or incompetent teaching at the beginning for me to think that it's ever a good idea for an unqualified teacher to hang out a shingle. The only exception is in the case of students whose only choices are lessons with someone unqualified, or no lessons at all either due to the expense or the location--I am remembering the self-taught Indian gentleman who posted here awhile back.
Unless you have a lot of teaching experience, its best to just follow a method such as Suzuki, Essential Elements, Strictly Strings, or other such method. If you try to put together your own method of teaching you will inevitably be introducing skills and concepts in a way that will be confusing to the student without realizing why. You can literally just walk the student through the book, but you may also find the need to add materials or skip parts depending on the student. Knowing when and why to do this for each individual student will come with experience as long as you are consciously trying to improve your value to the students.
Mary Ellen, I get that, but teachers must start somewhere, and good teaching skills comes from experience. Some professional teachers may have started doing some tutoring work as teens or university students to see if teaching is even for them and for other reasons. I strongly believe it is a good idea to study with a professional if at all possible, and it is definitely too bad for the student if they end up with an imcompetent teacher, even though they could easily access a competent one. I think part of the reason that many beginners even end up with horrid teachers is because I think a lot of people don't even know what to look for in a good teacher. In the beginning, sometimes it's a matter of luck in terms of getting a quality teacher or not, especially if you don't know what to look for in a teacher. Plus, I think there are some reasonable alternatives to university degrees, though university degrees are still the best. They're not great, but they show some form of qualification. An example could be the ARCT diploma from the Royal Conservatory of Music. The achievement level is somewhat lower than a university degree, but still quite high. I once heard of an excellent music teacher who only has an ARCT diploma. We can't make assumptions about the OP without him telling us the truth. When it comes to peacing together your own method, I think it's a matter of logic and how to approach skill-building.
Teaching is both a skill and an art. I realized that I didn't have a clue when I started teaching as a doctoral student in the Juilliard pre college division. A good teacher needs a method of teaching. It took me a long while for me to develop one and even then, I would not teach beginners because I feared giving them the wrong set up.
I think you may need a university degree in order to get it. Please correct me if I'm wrong. It's not the only way to go.
You do not need a university degree to enroll in Suzuki teacher training; you just need to submit an audition tape--and you have to take the Every Child Can! course first before doing any of the books.
Teaching violin or cello had never occurred to me, but when I was about 30 years old I started to give violin lessons - and I only did it because family friends asked me to teach their two kids. I don't recall that that lasted very long - but I felt confident that I could do so based on the beginner music I still had from 20-25 years earlier. After they stopped lessons I picked up a few more students (after my work day) from time to time because of my local "fame" as the concertmaster of the community orchestra (a position I acquired through attrition and held until I was 50). I started out charging $5/lesson in 1965 and continued at that fee until we moved away 30 years later. (A fellow musician (my quartet's cellist) who also played multiple strings - actually he played them all and had been a bass player in the National Symphony before he became a physicist - told me you MUST always charge something for a lesson or else the student will act as though it is worth the nothing they are playing. I did later take one student for free - and it proved he had been right!)
"I think part of the reason that many beginners even end up with horrid teachers is because I think a lot of people don't even know what to look for in a good teacher. In the beginning, sometimes it's a matter of luck in terms of getting a quality teacher or not, especially if you don't know what to look for in a teacher."
Mary Ellen, your suggestion is great. I don't know if that's available everywhere, though. Some school music directors may ask some of their more advanced students to tutor less-experienced students in the program for free, which is fine, too. Another possibility is to assist a beginning band/strings program in a typical school system. A lot of public school music students don't take private lessons. Ideally, they should, but they choose not to, and music directors just find it easiest to get student tutors. Yes, it is definitely a good idea to avoid high school/university people with no teaching experience, but my thinking is, there may be some people in the world who aren't sensible enough to realize that such a person could be a bad teacher. I think this group is a very small percentage, though. Another possibility for some people is to be the practice partner of a sibling or friend/relative, kind of like your idea, but not possible for everyone. Teaching a small number of private students (no more than 5) can be okay only if you were given offers by a family member/friend, even if you're not theoretically qualified. Even then, try to pass them on to more qualified teachers after a little while if at all possible, unless you can be their only teacher for various reasons. It's not an ideal way to get teaching experience, but it can be a last resort. Don't advertise yourself on the Internet and the like as a teacher if you're not qualified, except as a public school program teaching assistant and the like. I'm sorry, Mary Ellen, that I may be disaggreeing with you in a bad way, and I believe your opinions are very valued. However, situations can never be perfect, and I don't want to make any more assmptions without finding out more from the OP. My questions to him are: where would he get his students from, and at what level would they be playing at.
I am not making any assumptions. The OP has identified himself as a high school student soon to graduate, and his question makes it obvious that he has no teaching experience and no clear idea of how to start. If anything, I am assuming that he is in fact a competent violinist--otherwise I would not even be suggesting hiring himself out as a practice partner.
Good point. I'm just curious, though. He may have a wee bit of teaching experience helping experienced students with their current repertoire in a school group situation, but again, that's an assumption, and he must clarify. When I said one's making assumptions, I was probably being silly. Sorry.
Sorry, the fact that the OP said 'does anyone remember the order of teaching pieces' is an automatic NO WAY are you ready to teach from me.
You could also see if there are any local outreach programs for students who can't afford lessons. Teaching private outreach lessons was part of the curriculum at the pre-college program I attended, and it was a great learning experience. I also know a cellist who became her teacher's teaching assistant once she clearly became by far the best student in her teacher's studio. She would sub for the teacher for select lessons, observe a lot of them, and assist with some tasks. All of this was during high school, as well her gap year, so you may look at that if you are one of the better players in your studio.
These are some awesome ideas, guys. Thanks for sharing.
The practice partner idea is a good one, but even though it's not babysitting, it could dovetail into babysitting with extra pay. Lots of dual-professional families that don't have time for practice partnering, it's very time consuming. I suggest you enroll in the babysitting course that will be offered by your local parks and rec department because it's "basic training" for dealing with little kids.
Lots of great ideas in this thread.
Get some training first, please! Take Suzuki or another certification, ask an excellent teacher if you can sit in and learn from them, but please do not teach with no training or clear sense of objectives and sequencing. Not saying you must get a full music degree before ever considering teaching anyone, but realize that teaching is a profession and a skill, not an entry-level summer job, even for a good violinist.
I'm worried Suzuki training is out of the question, due to a lack of a college degree. Observe other's lessons, and ask teachers for tips.
As I have already pointed out upthread, you do not need a college degree in order to take Suzuki teacher training. You need to take Every Child Can! and you need to submit an audition video. But it is not something the OP or anyone else could accomplish between now and the summer, and it is far from cheap.
To take Suzuki teacher training, you need to be at least 17 and have a high school degree. But the Suzuki Association membership plus the training itself is so expensive that compared to what you'd make in a summer of teaching, you'd have a net loss.
Thank you guys for correcting my mistake. I misread the post, sorry.
I started off by offering lessons for free in my area (after having taught for fun for a couple of years while still a teen.... not very much, but at least it shows I had an interest in the teaching process).
Agree with you 100%, Erik. I think teaching skills can be learned/gained with experience to a degree, but personality really matters.
If the OP's primary interest is in learning how to teach violin, he would be far better served to observe as many lessons as possible while continuing his own studies.
Good points, Mary Ellen. I think the choice of when to venture out as a teacher is a personal one, and it must take lots of serious thinking. It depends on one's personality, ability and confidence. How do you know the OP is talking about summer jobs specifically? Some other posibilities include babysitting, gardening, yard work, and more. I 100% agree on observing lots of lessons, in addition to getting a bit of teaching practice if the situation permits through some of the above ideas like practice assistance, outreach programs, volunteering as a teaching assistant in group class settings, etc while continuing your own studies. If you're going to teach anyone and have no clue how, please at least ask your own teacher for tips to get started.
Andrew, where are you located? Perhaps we can recommend an instructor or youth orchestra program you can volunteer/apprentice with in order to acquire pedagogy skills. If your intent is to teach, then wonderful, it's time to begin that journey. :)
Teaching is all about the transmission of knowledge and experience. The best teachers, in my estimation and personal bias, are those who struggled to learn what they know. I've experienced both good and bad teachers in my life and generally found the best ones learned through lots of effort.
My questions to Andrew, as stated previously in this thread, are: where will you source your students from, where do you live, why do you want to teach, and at what levels will you be teaching at. Without this information, I cannot assume that he wants to teach just for profit, and I cannot assume that he wants to get paid for a skill he has already developed. Plus, if I don't know the violin education circumstances in his hometown, it is harder to give him fully accurate ways to achieve his goals.
*The best teachers, in my estimation and personal bias, are those who struggled to learn what they know. I've experienced both good and bad teachers in my life and generally found the best ones learned through lots of effort.*
I don't think the difference in a teacher's understanding is in struggling to learn or not. I think it's in their consciousness of what they're doing.
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