As an industry, us piano teachers can be quite isolated.
But there are ways for us to make connections and learn from one another. There are the traditional avenues such as Music Teachers Associations or Professional Development days run by music shops, publishers and examination boards. There are Conferences such as the APPC. In our travels we may meet other teachers at schools or by chance at exam days or recitals. You may be involved in other community or professional ensembles bands and orchestras that no doubt puts you in touch with other teachers.
Then there are also excellent resources online to get in touch with teachers to discuss pedagogy, students, parents and studios. I would strongly recommend Piano Teachers join forums and groups online to build their online teaching community.
I choose mostly to use Facebook groups such as the following:
Professional Piano Teachers– Primarily with an American focus but teachers from around the globe.
Australasian Piano Teachers– Exactly that, a group that is local to the Australia, New Zealand, Pacific Island and Asian Region.
The Art of Piano Pedagogy- More focused around pedagogy matters, definitely the largest Facebook group for piano teachers.
Music Teachers of South Australia– to discuss local matters, search for a group in your local area!
Piano Teachers’ Lounge- A place to share student performances, quite relaxed.
Australian Piano Teachers’ Music Hub– is a page that often has good info on what is happening in the world of print music, apps, the 40 piece challenge and current pedagogy.
Knowing other teachers gives a much greater sense of richness, learning and community to our profession. Are you involved in any forums that are excellent? Let me know, I would love to be a part of them.
In recent weeks a student of mine was preparing for the end of year concert, and had forgotten her books. She assured me she could play the pieces but couldn’t remember them by heart. Usually I would just not allow her to perform as the recital was in a few days. This student was very excited about the recital and so I checked with a colleague in another state if she happened to have access to that book at that moment, could send me a picture of the piece in question. In only a couple of minutes we had a photo in front of us for my student to play just to demonstrate to me that she could perform the piece. Whilst this is an anomaly, it helped my student out of a sticky situation. In this way, building your teacher network can be beneficial to your students as well as yourself.
Have you ever had a student who is moving and needs to locate another teacher? If you have a broader network you might be able to put them in touch with someone you think would be a good match rather than them having to blindly go hunting when they arrive in the new location!
Colleagues can share our joy and triumphs with students and teaching, whilst commiserating with our frustrations. We can help each other, brainstorm and be creative together. Our world becomes bigger and better when we connect with one another.