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Those of you who teaches, how much do you charge and how often do you give the class?

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    Those of you who teaches, how much do you charge and how often do you give the class?

    Just a general question for all the organist who has students, how much do you charge for a private lesson? And how often does the student come to take class from you? And how would you give him or her the lesson?

    I took piano classes from a college professor when I was a kid, that was in another country, and I pretty much remember the details of how she gives lessons to me.
    However, after I come to the US and start to take Organ lessons, I found my teacher's teaching method is completely different.
    Compare to my old piano teacher, his class definitely has a lot of advantage, but some times I also feel it's a little bit "disorganised" or sort of out of clue. I some times wonder if I take a lesson from another organist, what would I found out.
    So would you guys share some of your ideas and teaching experiences?

    The price for lessons is going to depend on where the teacher lives, how qualified they are and what their students are capable of paying. My teacher charges $45 for an hour lesson but he is retired and doesn't need the lesson income. The interval between lessons and the length of each lesson depends on the student's needs. I know that my teacher likes to do weekly half-hour lessons for beginning organists. For more experienced students he prefers biweekly one-hour lessons. He's probably not the best teacher. He repeats himself a lot, loses his train of thought sometimes, and he's a bit scattered so the lessons aren't perfectly effective, but I always learn something and find plenty of stuff I need to work on between lessons so he's good enough for me.
    Last edited by samibe; 07-27-2019, 11:21 AM.
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      I do a lot of weekly half hour lessons in music schools, but for private teaching I prefer weekly one hour lessons. OK that makes it twice as expensive for the student but the difference in progress can be dramatic! One hour fortnightly works OK, and I have some students who have a two hour lesson once every four weeks. And one or two who will have an all-day session every three months.

      Bottom line is that it all depends on what the student a) wants b) expects and c) can afford! And it depends on the instrument that they're learning. A piano is a piano, but organ - well, what type? Classical, theatre, jazz, orchestral? How much help does the student need with exploring and managing the instrument?

      Teachers are often very flexible and will give good guidance on all of this.

      How much? Depends on where you are! If I lived in London, I'd be charging much more than I do right now, but the cost of living would be higher too!
      It's not what you play. It's not how you play. It's the fact that you're playing that counts.

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      • Sarah Weizhen Xu
        Sarah Weizhen Xu commented
        Editing a comment
        Wow, that's amazing how much variety there could be just on how students manage their time schedule!
        Right now because my teacher is kind of busy, so when I will have class totally depends on if he has time! It could be a couple of times a month, and it could be once every 5 weeks! But I hate it when he tells me that he is unavailable when I was hoping to get a class, especially after a long time just practicing by myself.

        But he seems to have a different opinion, he definitely has a lot to teach me, but he thinks I can survive without having him teaching me everything, because he seems to believe I can figure out a lot of things by myself.

        For example, because he discovered that I can play the pedals fluently the first time I attempt to play them, he believes that I have a lot of talent on the pedal playing, and ever since then he never give me any instructions on the pedals anymore. But then it makes me worry, because what if the way I play the pedals are "OK" but not "completely accurate" or "proper"? Like I found out recently that it seems when I play the pedals with my toe, my heels are too far from the keys, almost like tiptoeing on the pedals, which makes my calf very tight afterwards.

        And as for what piece I should practice, some times it's on my own too. He would not suggest me which repertoire to practice unless I ask him for it. Some times he suggest a piece that is very easy, some times a piece that is super hard that took me two months to get through. And I lot of time I just pick whatever I like by myself. Which is cool.
        But I remember when I was taking piano lessons my instructor was very strict on which piece I should practice. She had a complete schedule on "textbooks", such as "Bach little prelude and fugue" then "Two parts inventions" then "three parts inventions" and then "French suite" etc. Step by step.

        But anyway he is a great teacher and I did benefit a lot from him. He not only gives me instructions on playing, he let me watch him work as a professional organist too, like in service and funeral, which gives me a lot of practical knowledge.

      If I can add to this discussion, I'm curious to get people's thoughts on live video instruction, e.g. by SKYPE, for people with no local instruction available. In my case, my interest is specifically for Theatre Organ instruction, but I am at the beginning stage (e.g. learning to really read music and play)
      Eric Mack
      Rodgers 340 S/N 34341
      Los Angeles, CA


      • Sarah Weizhen Xu
        Sarah Weizhen Xu commented
        Editing a comment
        I have had only one experience with online instruction, I took a course on Baroque Recorder with a teacher on Skype, she charged $45 for half an hour, but it was a terrible experience. On Skype you are not be able to see and hear very well, when you are taking class face to face you sort of be able to see everything from every possible angle and hear each other's playing in the most real form. But on Skype everything is diminished. But I guess for the very basic things like how to read music it would be possible to do online. Or some general discussions on your questions that you want to discuss with a professional, in verbal way, not on the instrument.

      • myorgan
        myorgan commented
        Editing a comment
        I agree with Sarah. For someone truly interested, there is no substitute for in-person instruction.

        As part of my masters program in Instructional Technology, several courses either had online participants, or when conducted online, way too much time was spent diddling with the technology vs. actual learning.

        Price: In my area, the range is between $40-$50+/hour, depending on the status (or greed) of the instructor. As already stated, beginning students are approximately half-rate. My wife and I give discounts if there are multiple family members, or if the student attends a private school (in addition to public school tuition via taxes, they pay extra to enroll their students in private schools). They deserve a break!


      • Max the Icie Owner
        Max the Icie Owner commented
        Editing a comment
        I had accordion lessons in person with a very skilled world-class accordionist for five years. When we moved five hours north I continued lessons with her via Skype, and still do, weekly. There's no one up here who teaches, even within two hours. It is not as good as in person, but it's still not that bad. One technical limitation of Skype is that you can't have audio from both sides at once, meaning if you're playing and your teacher wants to say something, if she does it it will cut off your playing, or if you have a slow connection conversations lag and so you will be cutting each other off a lot.

        If you do Skype, I like to use an audio interface with a condenser mic on a stand, and I position that wherever it needs to be. I use headphones so there's no feedback, but that's not necessary unless you have the mic near the computer speakers. That gets rid of many of the audio clarity problems - never use your built-in microphone on the computer if you're the one playing. It does not work well at all for good sound quality, which is then worsened by the Skype connection. My setup apparently sounds the best out of thirty different students my teacher has, so it is possible.

      My instructor walks around beside and behind me. He watches my feet and legs, also my back and arms. He complains if I'm pedaling with the flat of my foot, or lifting my toes or heels, or have too much tension in my calves or shoulders et very much cetera. All of which is just wonderful and I don't see how it could work over skype unless you have a buddy walking all around you with a phone while you play during every lesson.


        Originally posted by Sarah Weizhen Xu View Post
        ...I took piano classes from a college professor when I was a kid, that was in another country, and I pretty much remember the details of how she gives lessons to me.
        However, after I come to the US and start to take Organ lessons, I found my teacher's teaching method is completely different.
        Compare to my old piano teacher, his class definitely has a lot of advantage, but some times I also feel it's a little bit "disorganised" or sort of out of clue. ...
        Could you give some more examples of how their teaching is different?

        LESSON FREQUENCY - For children, 1/2 hour per week. For adults, the same, except for one student who does a 3/4-hour every two weeks - she works and has to arrange to come over a lunch hour. Two weeks also allows her more time to prepare. Another adult is retired and travels with his wife. He also has limited time to practice. We often meet for one hour ever other week, but sometimes, we will skip a whole month when he's away.

        As a teacher, I like to be in the same room as my students. I sit down on the floor beside the organ to watch pedal technique. I sit on the bench beside my student and together we experiment with registration and articulation. I could imagine doing it over a long-distance computer link, but I really am not a fan of modern technology and do not consider it equal to the in-person experience.

        Over my career, I've had 7 piano teachers and 5 organ teachers, as well as one guitar teacher and two recorder teachers. As a teacher myself, I try to incorporate their best qualities.

        I started teaching when I was in high school. My own piano teacher helped to arrange for me to teach 3 children beginners. I found, even then, that "teaching is a great learning experience/"


        • Sarah Weizhen Xu
          Sarah Weizhen Xu commented
          Editing a comment
          Sorry for my late reply!
          As for the details of the differences,
          First of all, the lesson frequency, when I was learning the piano, the lesson was once a week, an hour a lesson. With my organ teacher, the frequency gets really unstable, because it completely rely on whether he has time, some times it could be once every two weeks, some times he would not be able to see me for a whole month!
          The length is not stable either, could be half an hour, could be 2 or 3 hours, all depends on his schedule. Although he let me contact him through email and messages, which means if I have any questions I can ask him any time, which is really cool. Although it's only small questions, big problems would not be able to be explained online, and he would not be able to see "how did I make the problem" as in person.

          Second of all, the choice of repertoire to work on. When I was studying the piano my piano teacher seems to have a very clear and strick schedule on what pieces I am going to play. It's almost like homework. I need to finish these pieces, in order to move on to the next. It's always a baroque, a classism, and a romantic piece, practicing at the same time. But she wouldn't let me dwell on one piece for more than 3 weeks. If I spent more then 2 weeks on a piece and still not doing it well, she would feel like it's an "unsuccessful job" on it.

          But with my organ teacher, he seems have no idea or clear clue on what exactly I should play. Some times I am the person who decide which piece to practice. Which is cool. Some times he will just flip through my books and say "hey this is a beautiful piece! You should practice it!" And go to another one "hey this is good too!"
          Some times I do feel that he is probably letting me practice a repertoire that is out of my comfort zone. Which makes me spend more than just two or three weeks on it. And yet he is strict on how the pieces were played. If something don't sounds good, he would let me keep working on it until it's not a problem anymore. For example, he would rewrite my fingering for the whole phrase or change the whole phrase from manual to pedal, only because one note in that phrase doesn't sounds good in my original fingering.
          He never suggest me to "move on" to the next piece. Only I decided to do so because otherwise I will just dwell on it forever.
          I think this is good too, never feel it's bad. Just it's different from how I used to learn.

          Most interestingly, however, is that my organ teacher was not just teaching me this instrument. He gave me a whole world of liturgical music. I watch him play for the mass, for wedding, for funeral. I turn pages for him during the service, I print booklets with him for the festival, I sing in his choir as a guest cantor some times, and watch how him conduct the choir.
          All these are something that I have never even dreamed of, because from my previous experience with the piano teacher, you learn the instrument, just the piano itself, the lesson never has anything to do with something else.

          So I would have to say my organ lesson experience is very unique and wonderful in it's on way.

          However there are always endless things to talk about with my teacher and enless problems I have to solve, I just never have enough chance to go through everything. But it's probably like that for everyone!

        • Sarah Weizhen Xu
          Sarah Weizhen Xu commented
          Editing a comment
          It's so nice of you to go and watch your student play in different angles! I some times kind of feel that I might have some problems with the way I play the pedals. But my teacher never say anything about it . I guess we just never had time to go through it, and,
          Because I "could play a whole page of pedal exercise by sight reading the first day I play the pedal", my teacher thinks that I am "unusually talented on pedal", and ever since then he never pay attention to my pedals anymore!