Once upon a time… the suburbs were born, and piano teachers found themselves increasingly isolated, working in home studios far away from shops, offices, factories and workshops where others spent their days.
As schools emptied in the mid-afternoon so piano teachers would embark on the busiest period of their day, with lessons often wrapping up late into the evening (too late to contemplate social engagements).
This isolation was more than social – having no colleagues with whom to compare notes, brainstorm ideas or make plans meant that piano teachers had a extremely lonely professional existence as well.
Piano teachers associations worked to bridge this isolation, and monthly association meetings were often the only collegiate contact piano teachers had throughout the year, with the exception of annual or biannual conferences.
But somewhere between the birth of the internet and the arrival of facebook this situation has changed; not only can teachers chat about their teaching challenges in online forums and reflect on their teaching praxis via blogs (their own, or the blogs of other teachers), but their conversations now reach beyond their local area to teachers from around the world.
Even more extraordinary, teachers can tweet questions in the middle of a piano lesson with every expectation of getting an answer or some advice within just a few minutes.
How teachers connect with their community has also changed dramatically. Websites for piano teaching studios are now quite common, with teachers listing their teaching philosophy right alongside their fee schedule. The annual public recital is now augmented by students posting their performances on YouTube any time they feel their playing is up to it!
Researching repertoire has a whole new dimension these days, with many publishers providing audio samples of works in their catalogue. And as for general knowledge, students can unearth many arcane details via wikipedia and watch short video clips with experts talking on topics such as the development of the fortepiano and the rise of the solo recital.
So, how connected are you? How much are you participating in this new global professional conversation?! And how much are you taking advantage of the immediacy of knowledge in the 21st century?
“…I have just discovered the Australian Piano Teachers’ Music Hub and am really enjoying reading your posts and have printed off a few articles for students to read on my pin-up board.
Thank you for the inspiration and contact (I’m sure you understand how being a private music teacher is sometimes a little lonely.)” – Cathy WA Piano Teacher and HUB member
“…I love the Australian Piano Teachers’ Music Hub on facebook, it gives interesting tips, hints and articles that allow me to continually question and improving my teaching. “ – Christina QLD Piano Teacher and HUB member