New FAQ Question
#38 What sort of certification is required

Connie Sunday said: May 15, 2011
Connie SundayViolin, Piano, Viola
667 posts

Your comments welcome:

(38) What sort of certification is required to give music lessons?
http://beststudentviolins.com/PedagogyTech.html#38

Not to be difficult, but to clarify, there is no such thing as “Suzuki certification.” (This is a very common error, to say this). What there is, is registration. You can take the coursework—beginning with “Every Child Can,” the initial course, and at least Book 1 in your instrument—in two basic venues: summer courses, or in universities which offer a masters degree in the instrument, along with the Suzuki training.

Many teachers only take the first course and Book 1, in order to get “registered” (that is, registered with the SAA in Boulder), which prospective students can verify. University programs offer a lot more and frequently cover all of the books.

In order to take this coursework, you have to be, I believe, at least 18 years old, and you have to make a videotape of yourself playing two or three prescribed works from the fourth book, and mail it to the SAA, along with your application. Alternatively, you can opt (with violin) to play one of the Mozart concerti in books 9 and 10, with cadenzas—in which case you can take the whole spectrum of coursework.

I have talked to piano teachers who really struggled to play their pieces in the fourth book. Should they be teaching? I don’t really think so, frankly. But anyone can hang out a shingle and give lessons, even teachers who only use the Suzuki books but have not taken the training (which is very, very common).

All of this is very controversial and tends to start huge fights, especially among those Suzuki trained teachers who feel that the material is sacrosanct and really resent those who claim to be Suzuki teachers but don’t have any idea about the way the training is supposed to be done.

Look at the teacher’s training; where did they go to school and who did they study with. Do they interact well with students. How many successful students have they had? Are they pleasant, likeable and thoughtful? Can they play the instrument themselves? Piano skills are really important for all musicians, so I think a piano teacher should have a thorough knowledge of theory and be able to integrate that into the keyboard training. All teachers should have some knowledge of music history and even conducting.

Personally, whether Suzuki or “eclectic,” I think the best teachers love children, have a high level of performance ability and training, themselves, constantly strive to improve their knowledge, feel a calling to teach, and have extensive experience playing in ensembles, in school and professionally. I don’t think teaching should be a “fall back” position, in order to generate income from a failed performance career. I think it should be done responsibly and with care for the development of the students.

Free Handouts for Music Teachers & Students:
http://beststudentviolins.com/library.html#handouts

Kim said: May 15, 2011
 39 posts

cmsunday

I have talked to piano teachers who really struggled to play their pieces in the fourth book. Should they be teaching? I don’t really think so, frankly. But anyone can hang out a shingle and give lessons, even teachers who only use the Suzuki books but have not taken the training (which is very, very common).

Wow—really? My 10 year old pianist is working on the last piece in book 4 and I find it pretty shocking that someone at that level could teach and could claim they’ve been through training? Guess it pays to research your teacher!

Our teacher has a doctorate and has taught at the University level, so no worries for us.

Connie Sunday said: May 16, 2011
Connie SundayViolin, Piano, Viola
667 posts

>> Wow—really?

Yes; I’m afraid so. Local teacher here. I think if I were looking for a private teacher for a child or adult beginner, I would have to find one with at least a masters in performance, but that is not always available. It kind of cuts out the young people who are starting to teach, though. I just know how much more I know, now, than I did when I started teaching.

Free Handouts for Music Teachers & Students:
http://beststudentviolins.com/library.html#handouts

Barb said: May 16, 2011
Barb Ennis
Suzuki Association Member
Cello
678 posts

No matter the degree, an older teacher will likely know more than a younger teacher. I think that if I had teaching qualifications and started teaching at 22 I would not have been as good a teacher as I was when I did start at age 46 with no teaching qualifications (not that it would be true for all, but for me, certainly). And I’m better now than I was when I first started teaching. And yet I still make sure all prospective students or their parents know that I don’t have teacher training yet and I am not a professional performer (though I can play past book 4!). I would not have started teaching if there were a more qualified teacher here, and I still hope that one will move to the area to take my students once they reach a point where they are beyond my teaching abilities so that they will not have to drive to another city for lessons. That is sadly the case with small towns, however.

Not to diminish the importance of training, but I am glad, Connie, that your FAQ talks about more than training when it comes to checking out a teacher, as that is just one aspect.

Your website and all its resources are fantastic! Thanks for sharing with us!

Barb
Music Teachers Helper—for individual teachers
Studio Helper—for entire music studios or schools

Connie Sunday said: May 16, 2011
Connie SundayViolin, Piano, Viola
667 posts

>> Your website and all its resources are fantastic! Thanks for sharing with us!

Thank you!!

Free Handouts for Music Teachers & Students:
http://beststudentviolins.com/library.html#handouts

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