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#20320 - 01/27/06 06:28 AM Pianot teaching certification as a law?
Natalia Huang Offline
Regular Member

Registered: 08/14/05
Posts: 88
Loc: New York, NY
With so many of us piano teachers out there, why aren't there more regulations? How do students differentiate between teachers doing it only for the money and teachers that truly care? Yes, students might realize after a while that they have studied with the wrong teacher, but often times, the damage is done.

Doctors and lawyers are respected even with their high prices because the public is AWARE of the training and licensing that needs to be obtained. They are required by LAW to operate with a license. Therefore, though we complain about the high prices, we also understand why that's the case. But suppose that piano/music teachers are not allowed to teach privately without certification? Wouldn't that mean that more responsible teachers will be around? Doctors and lawyers can have their licenses revoked if they are malpracticing their operation, so why shouldnt the same happen with us? Though playing piano is mostly for recreational purposes, is it not true that when teaching is not done properly, it can lead to emotional and physical issues with the students?

People value and become aware of a profession when regulations are involved. So am I thinking too much when I say that piano/music teaching should be required by law to be certified? :rolleyes: \:D

#20321 - 01/27/06 06:35 AM Re: Pianot teaching certification as a law?
jaydub2 Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 01/29/04
Posts: 250
Loc: WA
I feel that I am a teacher that truly cares...I have experience and credentials to substantiate that...

BUT one thing I like about being a piano teacher is there ISN'T all the red-tape and beauracracy that many other professions have to deal with daily.

I would hate for the government (city, state, or federal) to become any more involved in my life than they already are.

My opinion is that even if piano/music teachers were certified by law there would still be good and bad teachers. just look at your local public schools...or have you ever visited a less than wonderful doctor or dentist?

#20322 - 01/27/06 07:10 AM Re: Pianot teaching certification as a law?
VioletBeauregarde Offline
Mainstay Member

Registered: 11/17/05
Posts: 502
Loc: Alabama
"one thing I like about being a piano teacher is there ISN'T all the red-tape and beauracracy that many other professions have to deal with daily."

I could not agree more!
If legality got involved with piano teaching they would start mandating benchmarks and curriculum that had to be followed like the schools and we would no longer be "unique" to what we do- we'd become carbon copies because there would be no room for individuality or teaching anymore.

I'm very glad they don't do that. Private piano instruction should remain so. What I do wish would happen with piano teaching though is that there would be some kind of universalized progression of skills (not pieces) throughout the methods. I know it will probably never happen, but how nice would it be when we students who come from teacher X to us as teacher Y , even with a different series, and have no problems sliding over into what teacher Y uses. There'd be no level 2 in one series and a level 1 in another for the same skills, or whatever the compensation between methods would need to be.
Adopted childen are NOT lucky- they are blessings.

#20323 - 01/27/06 09:05 AM Re: Pianot teaching certification as a law?
Manon Troppo Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 10/10/05
Posts: 318
Well, I was going to bring this up in the forum a few months ago, but ol' Natalia beat me to it (or rather, I allowed her to beat me to it). :p

I remember that the forum archives have this sort of discussion, but it's always good to relive the topic. \:D I'm actually in favor of having a modicum of regulation in the business. The independent music teaching field needs to be regulated to some extent. Most of us free-spirited, independent artists don’t appreciate being told what to do (I, for one, detest being bossed around) since we want to have artistic license/artistic freedom, but if we really want to ensure a degree of professionalism (hence professional compensation), some rules have to be in effect. Just like you say, those other professional fields (medicine, law, etc.) are seen as more professional and they command professional fees because there are actually established standards for them. The IRS actually considers independent music teaching a cottage industry and it's one of the business types that falls under the radar.

So yes, certification would be great, if possible. There’s even an article I found a few months ago about the importance of certification—though it’s not music-related (medical transcription, to be exact). MTs are not required to be certified like other professionals in the health care field, but the author of this article, an MT herself, wants to see it become the law. She says that with certification come more respect and more remuneration. These are totally the same things IMTs are facing.

My concern is that if there isn't some sort of regulation in effect, the hobbyists "down the street" will continue to undermine and undercut us. The public will still have a difficult time perceiving us as legit, respectable, competent, and qualified individuals. (Again, keep in mind that I've said a LIMITED amount of regulation, NOT TOTAL regulation. Yes, even the adult entertainment industry is regulated. LOL.) There should be an examination of certain general objective skills like an SAT-type of exam for music (and NOT the promotion of a certain method or curriculum). Yes, we know that this is a tough call, but there must be some solution somewhere.
If noise means uncomfortable sound, then pop music is noise
to me. - Masami Akita (Merzbow)

#20324 - 01/27/06 10:06 AM Re: Pianot teaching certification as a law?
xstitch4me Offline
Star Member

Registered: 08/15/04
Posts: 2167
Loc: Idaho
I have to agree with Jaydub. That's one thing that makes teaching "private" lessons so rewarding. We have the freedom to teach based on each individual student's needs. Can you imagine the headache if the government was involved? As we have discussed before - having the credentials whether it's certification in a music association or bachelor/master degree does NOT necessarily mean you are a good teacher. I say leave us the freedom to teach the way we choose to.

#20325 - 01/27/06 11:08 AM Re: Pianot teaching certification as a law?
Natalia Huang Offline
Regular Member

Registered: 08/14/05
Posts: 88
Loc: New York, NY
One of the reasons that I refuse to teach in public schools is because I like to choose what I want to teach, and not what I "have" to teach. So I definitely understand the fact that we don't want government involved. But again, like Manon said, a limited amount of regulation can help with the public viewing us as professionals. Although there are good and bad doctors/lawyers, the public still acknowledges them instantly BECAUSE of the training they've gone through, and the fact that they've worked hard to get the certification. The purpose of the law/regulation should work in our favor (creating public awareness) instead of against us.

#20326 - 01/27/06 01:30 PM Re: Pianot teaching certification as a law?
dlinder Offline
Mainstay Member

Registered: 03/11/01
Posts: 689
Loc: Ohio
There is no such thing as a "limited amount of regulation."
If it's about the fees we are able to charge, there are plenty of teachers out there that are charging those fees. I for one don't want to teach the people that can afford those fees. (although the monetary benefits would be awesome!)
If it's about educating the public, there are other ways to do that. Those people that don't care whether a teacher is qualified or not shouldn't be forced to do business with a qualified teacher.
Also think about the implications of this: a public school whose teachers have to be state certified (which is getting harder and harder to qualify, btw) has to accept ANY student whereas a private school that does not have to employ certified teachers can accept or reject any student it wants to.
There is freedom in not being regulated. Any kind of certification regulation is going to take away way more of our freedom than would be replaced with benefits.
I like the fact that I can charge as little or as much as I want, and that my qualifications and abilities as a teacher and performer speak for themselves rather than some beaurocrat telling me what I have to prove to the state.

#20327 - 01/28/06 02:22 AM Re: Pianot teaching certification as a law?
Dragonfly Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 10/06/05
Posts: 105
"What I do wish would happen with piano teaching though is that there would be some kind of universalized progression of skills (not pieces) throughout the methods"

check out


#20328 - 01/28/06 03:30 AM Re: Pianot teaching certification as a law?
mirlou Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 03/28/05
Posts: 181
Loc: The Netherlands
I think it's the teacher who has to educate the public. Of course, people can't know about differences between good and bad teachers at first. So make them know you're different from the teacher 'down the street'. Tell your students about your experience and education, make sure they know you are licensed and that there's a difference between you and a teacher who isn't. For example: are you a concertpianist too, are you able to teach even the most advanced student, do your students take part in competitions, do they take part in exams, are there other activities in your studio like music theory and history, possibility to have chamber music lessons, are there regular public performances etc. It may take a couple of years, but you can be sure people will know the difference!

#20329 - 01/28/06 03:40 AM Re: Pianot teaching certification as a law?
Susan Offline
Star Member

Registered: 01/03/01
Posts: 2168
Loc: Texas
Having taught music education in public and private schools in the past, I can say first hand that not only is it bad having someone tell you what to do, you also have to put up with being observed and then ranked. Sometimes the class they came to observe was my worst one! I have nothing to hide, but it was very nerve wracking. I will say that teaching in school had good benefits and the pay was pretty good, too. It's not a bad career if you don't want to teach private piano and you like children.
We've had a lot of discussions on MTNA certification. I am a memeber of MTNA and they are always pushing certification but I just can't see why I need to make the effort. Around here parents are more interested in your degree than certification.

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