The EPTA UK Piano Teachers’ Course is now in its sixth year and is the only one of its kind in the UK. A course like this is crucial for pianists and piano teachers, and should ideally be a mandatory component of any music conservatoire or university music graduate’s training. The majority of music graduates and music professionals teach at some point in their careers, and it’s rather baffling that there’s so little support in terms of courses, degrees or diplomas to prepare young musicians fully here in the UK. The ABRSM (Associated Board of The Royal Schools of Music) and Trinity College Examinations do offer teaching diplomas as part of their diploma programmes, but whilst useful, these don’t encourage much hands on experience or any feedback from experienced teachers (apart from a mark form!), which is quite necessary.
This is not the case in the US and many European countries, which all have various degrees specializing in piano pedagogy, offered at both music conservatoires and universities. Perhaps this is a subject to be fully explored at more UK institutions? Good teaching is the foundation for good piano playing, therefore this a skill to be honed and worked at, and is, in many ways, a separate entity from a performance degree.
The EPTA course has established itself as “The UK’s leading professional development course solely for piano teachers”. It continues to equip piano teachers with the full range of professional skills they need for a successful career, together with the opportunity to connect with an inspiring and informative network of pianists. It is a part-time course, designed to suit those with other commitments, lasting one academic year from October through to June. The 2014-15 course will consist of two long residential weekends, four further Sundays and independent study spread throughout the year.
The course consists of two modules:
- Module A: Practical Piano Teaching – starting in October 2014
- Module B: Pianism and the Piano Teacher – starting in April 2015
And leads to The Certificate of the Piano Teachers’ Course (Cert PTC) Qualification.
With its breadth and depth of pedagogy, practical application and relevant written assignments; and with the support and guidance of the PTC tutors, the course also provides excellent grounding and preparation for those taking Piano Teaching Diplomas.
If you are interested in PTC 2015-16, there are five Open Days available in spring 2015, offering the opportunity to attend a day during the 2014-15 course. To observe the sessions, take a look around the venue – and talk to the tutors and students.
The tutors guiding students are all highly experienced in their fields and will no doubt, instigate copious ideas for solid teaching skills. Course director is Lucinda Mackworth-Young and principal tutors include Dr. Sally Cathcart, Graham Fitch, Heli Ignatius-Fleet, Roshan Magub and Ilga Pitkevica. There are also many guest tutors too.
The course has been held at the specialist music school, The Purcell School in Hertfordshire since 2008, which benefits from outstanding musical facilities.
The minimum course requirements are as follows; students must be at least 18 years of age, and have:
- Passed Grade 8 piano, or higher
- At least one piano pupil for the duration of the course
- Word processing (IT) skills and email access
- The commitment to attend all course dates, as it is specifically participatory. It is not available on-line.
- If you would like to know more about this course, or book a place for October (there are just a few spaces left) then you can find out much more here.
- To find out more about EPTA UK, which is a superb and essential organisation for pianists and piano teachers, click on the website link below.
For much more information about how to practice piano repertoire, take a look at my two-book piano course, Play it again: PIANO (Schott). Covering a huge array of styles and genres, 49 progressive pieces from approximately Grade 1 – 8 level are featured, with at least two pages of practice tips for every piece. A convenient and beneficial course for students of any age, with or without a teacher, and it can also be used alongside piano examination syllabuses too.
You can find out more about my other piano publications and compositions here.