“what does it take to be a great piano teacher?”  Part 1Part 2

this is continuation of my previous post based on the question “what does it take to be a great piano teacher?” Speaking about “what does it take to be a great piano teacher?” I mentioned couple of the qualities each teacher has to have in order to be a great teacher.

Qualities like being sensitive. Knowing who your students are, and what their goals are. Qualities like being dedicated. Musicians are extremely busy individuals. But teaching is something musicians commit to and make sure that at all times they give their students the attention they need.  Qualities like trust and patience. Learning how to play an instrument is not an easy task. Both the teacher and student have to understand that, and be patient about getting where they want to be.

“What does it take to be a great piano teacher?” has couple of more other things to it. In today’s blog I would like to mention the part of educating yourself and the connection between being a great performer and a great teacher.  Being a great teacher is very close connected to being a great performer. I think it is very important for great teachers to be active musicians as well. The main reason for it is that on stage, while performing, you learn and educate yourself. And teaching an instrument has much to do with showing and playing for your students on the spot. The students will ask questions about how to play scales, what is the proper fingering, how to use the pedal on particular places, how to play a phrase to make it sound “beautiful”. How to memorize long solo pieces, how to work on their stage fright. And so many other questions which the only way for the teacher to answer will be if he or she has been through this themselves. The teacher must be knowledgeable and experienced enough to show the students what to do. And these are things which teachers learn while performing or being on stage. They learn while getting ready for the performance.  It is not something which you can read in the books, memorize and then you know how to do it. It is something you educate yourself about on stage with the action of performing.

Having said that,  I truly believe that being a great teacher also means being a great performer. And when adding some of the other qualities I mentioned in the first part of this post, you can be sure that the teacher would be great.

Here are couple of great teachers I have studied with. Who are also amazing active performers.

Friedemann Rieger, piano.

Morey Ritt, piano .

Charles Neidich, clarinet.

Marcy Rosen, cello.

The question is open to discussion and I will be more than happy to hear your opinion or adding some ideas to my thoughts.