Do you feel like a ‘real’ piano teacher?

Do you feel secure and professional in what you do? Or are you always worried that someone will ‘find you out’?


All this month I’ve been looking at the choices and different opportunities we’ve made in our journeys to become piano teachers. Click the links below to read these previous, related blog posts:

Starting off: what’s your musical backstory – read now
Making choices: inspirational encounters – read now
Becoming a piano teacher – read now

Because there is no clearly defined route, what it means to be a piano teacher can be blurred both for us and for our clients. This can lead to some teachers feeling undervalued by certain clients whilst others lack conviction in their own professional standing.

Here are 3 steps we can all take to help us feel more professional and valued members of society:


Invest in your on-going professional development as both a pianist and a teacher, ideally on a yearly basis. This doesn’t have to cost lots of money although you do need to set aside time. Here’s some suggestions:

  • have regular, ongoing piano lessons
  • attend workshops, masterclasses and conferences
  • buddy up with other teachers for discussions on particular topics
  • find a local networking/support group (e.g. via EPTA (UK) or MTNA)
  • read that book on piano teaching that’s been on your shelf for several months!

If you do have the time and money and you want to commit to real change in your teaching there are various courses available:

The Curious Piano Teachers Online Teaching Diploma Preparation Course click here for the brochure
The Piano Teachers’ Course click here
MA in Music Education: Instrumental and Vocal Teaching at the University of York (full-time or part-time) click here


This is an area that is easy to skip over as you start to teach. Then, somehow, there’s never the time to sit down and consider them fully. Yet without having your teaching policies and contracts in place you are potentially vulnerable to feeling undermined and undervalued. For example, lessons cancelled at the last minute with a make-up expected – such tales of woe appear frequently in many of the Facebook groups.

So part of being professional is taking responsibility for putting these key business mechanisms in place.

Here’s some basic ideas of what you need in place:

  • teaching contracts
  • studio policy including payment and cancellations
  • health and safety policy
  • safeguarding and child protection policy
  • privacy policy
  • GDPR
  • equal opportunities policy


Being a piano teacher is so much more than just being an individual teacher. It is important for all of us to share common beliefs, values and standards. We are all stronger and more confident if we are part of a group or association that represents what we stand for as a teacher.

Do you have, for example, a specific set of teaching standards or principles that are shared with others? Membership of The Curious Piano Teachers brings with it a set of Guiding Principles. Here’s just a sample of them to give you a flavour.

  • Making music is at the heart of all lessons
  • Learning is placed within a structured and progressive framework
  • I am committed to a process of ongoing professional development and personal music-making.


As I was sitting and pondering how to start off this week’s blog post one of teacher, who’s thinking about her next steps,  shared she is considering studying for a teaching diploma. With her permission I am sharing it here.

‘I want to further myself even more, not only for my own confidence but also as a feeling of responsibility to all my students and to the profile I am trying to project i.e being a professional teacher!’

If you’re interested in getting a teaching diploma qualification take our 1-minute quiz to find out if you’ve got what it takes!
Click here to take The Quiz

This blog post was written by Dr Sally Cathcart, Co-Founder of The Curious Piano Teachers


  1. Janet Nicolls

    I love all you say and wish I could remember it!
    Any thoughts of a book…? or ‘just’ transcribing what you’ve done so far. I suppose I could make a folder on the computer but I really need a hard copy in the music room.
    Any comments?? or good ideas.
    You are remakable – best thing out for us piano teachers.
    Do you do talks for EPTA groups like ours – in Newcastle on Tyne….for the North East…..
    with grateful thanks,


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