Cheap Tuition Fees versus Advanced Teaching Skills

I used to have a different piano teacher that wasn’t very good as he never explained anything to me and didn’t teach me how to read the notes. Because of this we decided to try piano lessons with Michael Spacie and I noticed how much better he was than my other one as he explains everything and taught me to read the notes and music. Now I really enjoy my piano lessons and always look forward to them.

Alexander Teufel (Student)

 

Susanne Teufel writes: Before Alexander started piano lessons with Michael, he used to go somewhere else. But after 6 months of music lessons he still couldn’t read the music properly and I often had to help Alexander with practising, because he didn’t know how to tackle a piece of music. He got every lesson a new piece for homework, even when he couldn’t play the previous weeks’ one yet. Since Alexander started with Michael he is coming on heaps. The difference is amazing. Alexander suddenly knows what to do, how to practice and he really enjoys his lessons.

Susanne Teufel (Mother of piano student Alexander Teufel)

 

Dr Michael Spacie writes:

The testimonials above need no additional specific comment from me. However, this is not the first time that I have encountered similar instances; therefore, anyone considering tuition, particularly parents but equally importantly for adults too, should consider in some detail from whom the tuition is given and sought and the rate of progress, in the case above, very little.

A piano tutor with advanced skills does not mean they solely teach advanced pianists. This is a common misunderstanding. It is very important that students are taught from the beginning by an advanced skills tutor for the results evidenced in the testimonials given above.

What is an advanced skills piano tutor? Put simply, one who has (in their instrument of tuition) evidence of the results of their teaching for all to see and not just statements or questionable and dubious testimonials to alleged achievements.

Holding a ‘music graduate’ qualification such as a BA popular music degree or a BA in classical music is not par for the course. Nor are some specific education or teaching qualifications or courses. Advanced skills for beginner students are acquired over many years experience and in many different ways, from various different sources and are consolidated through specific skills, unfortunately not always seen in the teacher who ironically only teaches beginner, foundation and perhaps intermediate levels, or even an advertisement for all skill levels.

Alexander’s story of progress only after a short time in this teaching practice can be witnessed on the link from the Student Performances page on this website. He now reads music fluently. He also engages in piano practice regularly, thoroughly and in a meaningful way now he has been advised with the skills so to do.

Whether considering an individual private tutor or a tutor within an advertised local ‘music school’ or ‘music academy’, careful thought should be given or potential money and talent will be wasted with a ruinous situation to a student’s potential musical capability.

An advanced skills tutor will charge reasonable, but not cheap fees or reductions that are well under the going professional rate in order to appear more ‘affordable’ or ‘attractive’. They simply do not need to. In genuine cases, the evidence of an advanced skills piano tutor for beginners will speak for itself.

I have attained several piano performance diplomas such as the LTCL (Recital) of which the necessary skills of pianistic and interpretative technique required for success can be passed on to students on all levels, including beginners. I have observed the following points are often absent with students such as Alexander upon joining my teaching practice from somewhere else:-

  • Good teachers put music at the heart of every lesson and aim to pass on skills so students will become musicians in their own right.
  • Take each lesson as it comes and not to look into any single method or imposing a single methodology.
  • Sense of empowerment, both musically and technically.
  • Physical suppleness and correct alignment giving effortless, freedom and spontaneous playing.
  • Not interested in quick outcomes, but long-term development.
  • Working organically, repertoire-based and not at all exam-orientated.
  • The concept of ‘singing’ in pianism.
  • Enabler, not a teacher as such, draw out rather than put in, giving the means to perform.
  • Finally, but not least, an emphasis incorrectly on targets and results.