Ever since I started playing the piano at age seven, I knew I wanted to do something with my life involving music. Eventually, after being thrust into the teaching world by a few well-meaning moms who wanted me to teach piano to their children, I decided that I might like to teach piano. So I advertised and soon built up a small studio of piano students.
I had no prior teaching experience other than helping my brothers with their homework, so I learned much by trial and error. Oftentimes I simply made up things as the lesson went along. I wanted to teach well, but I just didn’t know enough. As time went on I gained more and more experience, but I still felt like I was short-changing the kids I was teaching. I needed real training to be the best piano teacher that I could be.
Enter Cedarville University, a small Christian college with a major that fit my calling. The major is called Keyboard Pedagogy, and it is designed specifically for students who want to go on to teach piano from their home or studio. Cedarville is actually the only Christian college within a reasonable drive of my home to offer this degree, and so I was overjoyed when everything lined up for me to be able to go there.
I have now just finished my sophomore year at Cedarville University, and already it has made an incredible impact on my life. I’ve learned more than I thought there was to learn about music and teaching, and I still have two more years to go! I also have already had the opportunity to teach piano students at the school, which has helped me apply my knowledge to a real-life setting. Next year I will be observed and critiqued while I teach, which I know will challenge me to get out of the teaching ruts I’m in and become a better, more creative teacher. This teacher observation is a valuable aspect of the pedagogy degree, and one many schools do not offer.
But probably the most impacting part of my degree and the college itself is the people. I have seen the value of getting to know a person so you can encourage them, speak truth to them, and build into their life. If I had not gone to Cedarville, I don’t think I would have experienced this, and in turn, learned how to do this for others.
I know that because of the strict training I am receiving at Cedarville I will be able to be a successful piano teacher anywhere, but I also know that because of the people who have poured their lives into me, I will be able to pour my life into the students that I teach. And to me, shaping a life is just as important, if not more important, than teaching the skill of playing the piano.