The life of a pianist can be very lonely indeed. For polished performances hours and hours need to be spent at the instrument. Teaching (and for the majority of pianists, this is the most secure career) means rewarding contact with pupils, but what is so often sadly missing is the contact with other pianists, the feeling of camaraderie that comes from knowing we’re all in this together. There is also a danger of becoming stale and out of touch, perhaps teaching the same familiar pieces in the same way for some years. We can all use a bit of inspiration from time to time – some new ideas, learning about new trends in piano pedagogy, finding out about new repertoire and other resources you were unaware of. 

I advise colleagues to join EPTA  – The European Piano Teachers Association, a professional body for piano teachers. Founded in 1978 by Carola Grindea, the aims of EPTA are to promote excellence in piano teaching and performance, to bring teachers and performers together and to raise standards within the profession. There are Associations in almost every European country, and an annual conference. At grass roots level, each area in the UK has a local area representative. In addition to attracting pupils via your entry in the list of teachers, benefits of membership include the many events arranged throughout the year – classes, workshops, presentations as well as the annual piano competition.

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I was delighted to be invited to join the staff  of principal tutors for  The Piano Teachers’ Course EPTA UK, the UK’s leading professional development course solely for piano teachers directed by Lucinda Mackworth-Young. The course is suitable for pianists and piano teachers who wish to enhance their professional teaching skills. It leads to The Certificate of the Piano Teachers’ Course (Cert PTC) a recognised piano teaching qualification. The comprehensive training offered by the Piano Teachers’ Course, with its breadth and depth of pedagogy, practical application and relevant written assignments, is excellent preparation for those taking other piano teaching diplomas.

The Piano Teachers’ Course is holistic in its approach and includes aural, educational, historical, imaginative, intuitive, musical, pianistic, psychological and technical concepts and skills. Course students will be shown how to inspire their pupils to play by ear as well as read notes – and to improvise as well as interpret repertoire. They will also be encouraged to develop their own pianistic skills in workshops and through informal duet, trio and solo performances of Grades 1 to 8 in standard. Students will not be required to perform at a standard higher than Grade 6, though they may choose to do so.

If you are new to the profession, the course is designed to guide and give confidence. If you have been teaching for some time but feel the need for a boost, the course will re-invigorate, enrich and deepen your work. It is a part time course, designed to suit those with other commitments, lasting one academic year from October 2013 to June 2014. It consists of four residential weekends, two further Sundays and independent study spread throughout the year.

The new website contains all the information you need to know, including testimonials, the course outline and the biographies of those teaching the course. If you want to get a feel for what the course offers, there is an open day on June 2 at The Purcell School in North London. Come along and see if this is for you!

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