People that travel to your house to teach often are not covered by any public liability, professional liability or product liability insurance.
Further, some household policies do not cover YOU if outside workers come to work on your property.
If anything goes wrong (the teacher slips, or spills something on the student, or doesn't teach the correct curriculum) then you are on your own.
Because we teach at a fixed location, we are able to secure insurance, as well as copyright cover, Government Education Provider status, and many other benefits for students and parents alike.
2. Teaching Correctly
Many parents cannot afford to purchase a piano worth thousands for a beginner student (and fair enough, too!). This means that at home they have an inexpensive keyboard, usually with only 61 keys (instead of the usual 88), and those keys won't be fully weighted. They often won't have a pedal.
Whilst this is satisfactory for practise for the first year or two, students really need to experience accurate piano key touch to develop correct technique, and they need to be able to use a full 88 keys to play several of the pieces on the syllabus.
Some students may have a piano at home, but this is occasionally a piano that belonged to their parents (and possibly their grandparents!). These pianos sometimes haven't been tuned in a while (acoustic pianos should be tuned twice a year), and may have keys that stick.
Again, not suitable for teaching...
People that come to your house are therefore often forced to teach poor technique on keyboards that are inadequate. It is often difficult for students to un-learn these bad habits if they later decide to pursue more serious musical study.
This is a serious disadvantage for students, and a waste of your money.
At SMC, we purchase a NEW piano every year or two. We use only the latest, AMEB standard pianos, with three pedals, suitable for all grade levels.
We also have some of the latest Roland synthesizers (including the top-of-the-range XV-88), as well as much of the latest software (including Finale, Audition, and Logic).
Students are never dis-advantaged: rather they have all the advantages that the latest equipment and techniques can provide.
When people come to your house to teach, the facilities that they can offer are limited to what they can fit in the back of their car.
Often, this is very little.
At SMC, we have a computer sitting next to the piano to allow us to use backings to help students with their timing.
We have USB interfaces to allow students to use USB Flash Drives from home to work on school assignments, or major works for HSC.
We have software that allows students to compose their own music, then record it using the latest sound modules, then produce a CD to take home. We can print their music with our high definition laser music printer, or produce full-colour layout for major works using the latest Epson AccuLaser C1100 colour laser.
We have a photocopy license (SE-3886) as well as A3 photocopying on-site, and binding and laminating as well.
Students have access to over 8000 MIDI files, 2000 music books, the complete works of Beethoven, Bach and others, and the complete Groves Encyclopedia of Music.
I can't imagine fitting this in the back of the car each lesson...
If you learn at home, you'll have to travel to an unfamiliar location and use an unfamiliar instrument to perform pieces that you may have been working on for a year.
This can make many younger students (and many older, first time students) quite nervous.
At SMC, students doing the AIME Pianoforte exams can be examined using the same piano that they learn on. They are more comfortable and relaxed, and so often get better results.
5. We'll Be There For The Long Haul
Many home music tutors are students looking for extra income, until they get a full-time job. They may be unqualified and inexperienced.
They certainly don't see this as a long-term career (or they would invest in proper equipment and a real location to teach in).
At SMC, this is a life-long vocation, not a part-time job for pocket money.
We have been teaching for over twenty years, and we've invested heavily in building a customized teaching facility that is suitable for beginners, composers, and adult students alike.
We will still be here assisting your child in several years time, understanding their personal tastes in music, developing their strengths, and overcoming their weaknesses.
We won't just quit when our HSC or Uni Course is over...
6. We Don't Teach Groups In The Back Of A Truck
Group education appears cheaper to parents. You pay half what a private lesson would cost.
But is it really cheaper?
In a group of six students, each student is getting approximately one sixth of the time that they would get in a private lesson (meaning that you are really paying three times as much)...
Also, as parents with two or more children would be only too aware, every child is different. In a group of six, you'll have one child with great fine motor skills, but one who can't control their fingers easily. Another child will be able to play by ear, where one might be nearly tone-deaf. One will pick up note reading quickly, one won't. One will like classical music, another won't...
You get the idea...
Children often learn on simple keyboards that may be older than the student, sometimes with only 61 keys, not fully weighted, so they are learning bad habits.
These bad habits can take time (and therefore money) to remedy at a later stage.
In a group, all students must move at the same pace. There is no time for one student to do specific exercises to fix problems, or to pursue other pieces that they may enjoy.
The only way a group teacher can handle this is to aim for group mediocrity, rather than individual excellence. Often these tutors actively dissuade parents from exams, telling parents that their child has successfully accomplished Grade 'X', but aware that actually mastering all the skills for these exams would require far more individual attention.
There is often no room for parents to participate in these groups, or to ask detailed questions about assisting at home, or about exams.
Tutors often use books that use mostly chords for the left hand (like the Bastien Group Method), so students don't learn to play with proper Left Hand independence.
At SMC, we teach children individually. In this way we can tailor pieces and exercises to suit each students own likes and needs.
Parents are actively encouraged to 'sit-in' with the lessons. Many enjoy spending the time with their children, (and more than a few actually learn to play themselves!). We benefit by having a supervising parent at home who knows what homework and practise is expected that week.
After all, two brains are better than one!
Our head teacher has over 20 years teaching experience, and has worked as a music consultant for
The NSW Department of Education, Roland, Kawai, & several TAFE Colleges.
teach morning, after-school and evening classes.
site was designed & programmed by S.A.Walter,
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This web page was created on15 November 2007
Last updated 17 November 2007