UK Piano Teachers’ Course 2017-181:00, 10th March 2017
There are literally dozens of courses for amateur and professional pianists, but where do you go if you want to hone and develop your skills as a piano teacher? Jennie Parke Matheson from PTC introduces their pioneering course for newcomers to the profession and experienced teachers in need of a refresher
The Piano Teachers’ Course is the only course of its kind in the UK. It’s a great place to develop and enhance your existing teaching and playing skills. It’s pretty hard work – definitely not for the faint-hearted – but you can be sure that from day one you will be energised and bursting with ideas.
The course comprises 13 full-on days with our Tutor Team, interspersed with written and practical assignments. It explores every element of piano teaching, including business skills, communication and listening, broadening your repertoire, using the voice and movement, access to apps – plus of course playing and interpretation. If you admit to having issues around playing in front of people – sight reading, playing by ear and improvisation, among others – then these will be subjects to investigate further.
There are six excellent tutors with a vast array of complementary skills between them. You’ll be placed in a tutor group of 5-6 students, though not with a tutor you already know or who has taught you – so you get the experience of working closely with someone new. When full, the course comprises 30 students representing a wide range of ages, backgrounds and experience. It’s a place to forge new friendships and become part of a nationwide group of alumni.
The course is ideal for anyone who wants to add more ideas and skills to an already active and successful career, but it’s also a suitable way for participants – women in particular – to re-introduce themselves to teaching, having had a family or an alternative career.
All applicants need to have Grade 8 piano and Grade 5 theory. If you don’t meet this requirement you will struggle with the level of musical knowledge expected. That doesn’t stop anyone with a degree or masters joining the course, but it’s not a competition: the focus is on individual development. Each person has their start point and their finish point – you grow from where you begin.
The course dates tally with the academic year, so the first weekend is in October and the last day is in June. The dates also coincide with school holidays and half terms, so intended not get in the way of other work commitments. The venue for the course is the Purcell School of Music in Watford, just north of London and easily accessible by road or rail. The School provides a wide range of excellent music facilities: enough high quality pianos for 26 people to play at the same time, with large and small recital spaces and plenty of practice rooms. Even some of the bedrooms have pianos.
A huge bonus of the PTC is that it offers Open Days to prospective students, so you can visit the current course for one or two days each spring to observe our classes. This is an excellent opportunity to gauge the academic level of the course as well as to meet the tutors and current students. If the course isn’t for you but you still want to brush up on some of the subjects we cover, you can visit us just for that.
At the end of the course, if you’ve attended enough days (10 minimum, though preferably all of them) and passed the written assignments, you will become a Cert PTC – a Level 4 qualification under the UK’s National Qualifications Framework.
Another benefit of taking the course is that if you intend to take further qualifications, the ABRSM now accepts the PTC Essay Assignments as a full substitute for the written elements of their Teaching Dip.
The final jewel in the PTC crown is the ABRSM Certificate for Music Educators – a new qualification piloted in 2015 for anyone teaching children and young people up to the age of 25. It’s a UK government Ofqual qualification (also at Level 4), which is more research and evidence-based than the Cert PTC. This too is hard work, but will put you at an advantage if you want to work in schools or music organisations – or simply explore your own teaching even more intensely.
Applications are now open for the 2017-18 Piano Teachers’ Course, priced at £2,550 per person including accommodation and meals. For further details please contact course administrator Jennie Parke Matheson on +44 (0)7831 164430 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.