Many piano teachers I train ask me how to get more students, and perhaps more importantly, the students they want to teach.
Most teachers focus on obtaining more professional qualifications (studying more, getting professional piano performance or teaching diplomas/degrees, performing more, etc).
These are all very good ways to learn more about music/performance/teaching in general, but many neglect the fact that, in order to be better at teaching, one actually needs more hands-on experience in the subject. So, to put it simply, many teachers need to teach more rather than study about it in books.
Another very important aspect of piano teaching (or in fact, any kind of teaching), is to foster a connection with your students. And to do so, one needs to be better at communicating. The funny thing is, for most performers, they spend a lot of time “communicating” with their instruments (and maybe books), but much less with other people. And this applies in particular to pianists, most of which play alone (with some exception of accompanying other instrumentalists and choirs), as opposed to other instrumentalists who get to play in an orchestra, which provides so many more opportunities to socialize with other musicians.
In my “Successful Music Teaching Course” and “Piano Teacher Training Course“, I share with my music/ piano teacher students how we can be more successful in building our teaching studio/career and connecting with students/their parents. There are lectures on planning your lessons, writing your studio policy, managing a studio calendar, to recruiting new students. But the first lecture remains this: learning about what your teaching philosophy is – what you want with your teaching (other than making a living), and what you want to teach your students.
There is no one fixed way to achieve success – but showing the teacher students some guidance definitely helps them, especially those who are new to music teaching.
Other than studying about music and piano, I also read a lot on psychology and communication. And like I mentioned earlier, gaining more experience by hands-on teaching is the key to practice and improve for many years to come. Of course, learning new teaching tricks also helps!
If you are new to piano teaching, I want to encourage you and say, keep it up! It is difficult to fathom at the beginning, especially if you start on your own. But with time, persistence and effort, you would find it worthwhile and fulfilling.