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Piano Teachers Federation helping music students find the right teacher

Laura Tyrell, one of the first members of the Piano Teachers Federation.

Vancouver locals Eric Salonga and Sean Pacey are ready to unveil a federation they claim is unlike any before it. This is the Piano Teachers Federation. Every time I repeat the name I hear the Star Wars theme song.

The Piano Teachers Federation was conceived after a client of Pacey's (Mr. Pacey runs a piano store) who received a Masters degree in Piano Performance shared that she wants to teach full-time but has few students. How could such a qualified person be in a situation like this? "Possibly due to a lack of resources; self-marketing is difficult for teachers" says Pacey. The PTF plans to improve the Vancouver arts scene by providing tools for piano teachers in today's economy, grassroots style.

Traditional word of mouth recommendation of teachers works alright, but prospective students and their families tend to need more information before committing, hence the kind of profile you will see at . Sean compared shopping for a piano teacher with setting out to eat at an upper-end restaurant. You will probably want to check some out some menus online before you travel to make the investment. Salonga added that customers of any industry are increasingly savvy so require special tools to meet their growing needs. For teachers, a sign on the doorstep doesn't quite do it any more. Site features such as a Bio, Picture, Video Embedding through YouTube and even a Google Map module specifying location help to mobilize the modern teacher's profile. Consider a sort of cross between a social network and a business directory.

Membership of the Federation is currently close to 50 teachers but nearly 200 others have expressed interest directly to the co-founders and at least one new member joins every day!

Since every teacher has different methods and manners, it may take some searching. Finding the right teacher is about finding a valuable working relationship.

Making best use of the Federation's resources entails conducting online research as well as offline. Taken directly from the site's "How to choose the right music teacher" page:

Talk to friends, family and colleagues who maybe acquainted with teachers in your community.

Seek recommendations from music teacher organizations, music stores, schools or churches.

Interview prospective teachers, in person if possible, before making a commitment.

Attend a recital of the prospective teacher's students.

Ask to talk to some of the teacher's current and past pupils.

Pacey and Salonga declare their primary goal in this project is to create more piano students. The Federation will hold recitals to inspire audiences at the Masonic Centre near Granville and 8th Avenue in Vancouver.

So far members have taken their stand across British Columbia and there are listings as far as Prince Edward Island.

The Federation is preparing to spend $100 000 on marketing and promotion once the member base is 'significant enough'. Pacey and Salonga are aiming for widespread expansion in mid-February.


Looking for a piano teacher? Are you a teacher yourself?

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IndieVanYour Vancouver Live Music Blog

John Tanner

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