These questions were posed to me by my student Olivia, for a school assignment.
1. When did you begin wanting to teach piano?
My passion for teaching has actually developed through teaching. At some point in my early career, my ambition was more focused on performance. During grad school (Indiana University) I was awarded an assistantship that required me to teach private lessons and group piano classes. I was actually surprised how much I enjoyed it, and how much I learned from it. After completing my degree I returned to Maryland and decided to try pre-college teaching (students ages 4-18). The more I did it, the more I grew to love it, as I realized the role I played in the immediate and long term development of students (both musically and personally).
2. When did you actually start teaching?
I taught several students during high school and college, but my actually teaching career started in grad school.
3. What helped you most when teachers would critique you? (methods of teaching or usage of words?)
My most influential teacher was Ann Schein, who has a remarkably expressive vocabulary. Her way of inspiring feelings, emotions, technical changes, and perspectives through descriptive words and imagery - always in a kind but firm manner - made a tremendous impact on me.
4. Has piano teaching helped you in any way? ( i.e. build character or want to change the world haha)
Teaching has made me want to be a better example - both as a musician and person. I see how the little impacts I have on my students in a lesson can add up and potentially be a lesson for their life. It's amazing to be a teacher, friend, and mentor to so many young people - a great privilege and a great responsibility.
5. Would this be an occupation you would recommend to other aspiring piano teachers? Why, or why not? Absolutely - under the condition that first they work to become the best pianist/musician they can be. The more they know and explore (musically and technically) and soak in from their own teachers, the better a teacher they will eventually be. This profession has challenges - it requires tremendous patience, organization, creativity, energy, and entrepreneurial skills - but is incredibly rewarding.
6. Could you give me a quote about the musical life? or… the teaching life?
I learn as much as I teach. I teach as much as I learn.
Elizabeth Borowsky is a pianist, teacher, and composer. She is a Nationally Certified Teacher of Music in Piano (Music Teachers National Association).