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Is it feasible to teach middle school choir without any piano skills?

   Is it feasible to teach middle school choir without any piano skills?
   I am an elementary music specialist fresh out of graduate school, getting a little desperate for a job.
   I have an interview for a position that is at three schools, 4-6 General Music/Choir, 4-6 General Music/Choir, and 7-8 Choir. I turned down the interview at first-- I told the principal I have no piano skills and limited ensemble experience because of my K-5 background. But the principal was really positive he wanted me to interview, and seemed very willing to help in terms of hiring pianist at concerts and using recordings. He especially requested I interview, so that will be happening soon.
   While I have the musicanship skills (I'm Orff and Kodaly trained) and the classroom skills to teach 4-8, I truly can't play piano because of a chronic-pain issue. Is possible to teach choir without piano? I don't want to get over my head, but I also would like to work, even if it's not the K-5 position I'd feel more prepared for.
Replies (10): Threaded | Chronological
on July 24, 2012 8:03am
I agree with everything Steve says.  I am a pianist who has been teaching middle school music for 33 years, and I have to really work to stay away from the piano that "gives all the answers" to the students.  Many of the student teachers I have worked with did not have strong piano skills.  Principals who call for job references are concerned about this and I always explain that if hired, their choirs will be stronger because they won't be "leaning" on the piano.  Once you develop a plan you are comfortable with, you will be fine.  Go for it!
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