• Daniela DiBenedetto

What is Private Teaching??

Many people ask me about what I do as a "Private Teacher”. 


And in all reality, there’s so much to say I could write a book on it (and perhaps I will one day) however, in the meantime I’ve decided to start this blog with the hope of answering some of the many questions I receive regularly from those who are curious and interested in possibly becoming a Private Teacher themselves. 


So, for this initial post, I’d like to go over, “Why do I call myself a Private Teacher?” and “What is it exactly that I do?”


Let’s start off with some basic definitions from our good-old-friend, the Internet:

Google defines a Tutor or Private Instructor to be: “A person who teaches a specific subject or skill to an individual student or small group of students. Such attention ideally allows the student to improve knowledge or skills more rapidly than in a classroom setting."


So far, all of this sounds accurate according to the basis of what I do, however, I found it interesting that the term “Private Teacher” is not defined anywhere…


Delving further into the depths of the web, Quora.com says: "In America, the two words (Teacher and Instructor) are largely used interchangeably, but there is a difference. Teaching imparts knowledge and instructing imparts skills. Therefore a teacher is one who teaches you about a subject and helps you reach understanding and, an instructor is one who instructs you on how to accomplish a task."


Ah, OK,..so the term “teacher” primarily refers to knowledge and book-smart education, while “instructor” refers to skill and application-based education, and “tutor” refers to individualized-learning education. 


So which one am I, exactly?


Looking at what I actually do in my lessons and considering the definitions and explanations above, I am both a tutor, teacher, AND instructor. 

~My lessons are given to individual or small groups of students with lots of attention and focus on individual student goals, aka The Tutor.

~My lessons incorporate knowledge about the subject of music, such as reading music, music theory, song analysis, etc.,  aka The Teacher.

~My lessons instruct students on technical singing skills, such as how to breath properly, achieving range consistency, improving resonance, etc., aka The Instructor.


However, when people ask me what I do, my answer has always been: "I am a Private Music Teacher." I have never used the term “Music Tutor”, and only occasionally used the term “Voice Instructor”.


“Why?”, you say?


Well, I prefer using the term “Private Teacher” for the following reasons:

  • I use the word “Private” because it indicates that I teach focused, individualized lessons. Plus it has an exclusive-sounding feel to it, and people like that because it makes them feel special.  

  • And I use the word “Teacher” because I do, in fact, teach and not just instruct as stated above. Plus, I've found that the majority of people I talk to immediately understand the brevity of my work when I say “Teacher” vs. feeling like they need to ask a follow-up question when I say “Instructor”. “Teaching" is a more familiar and widely understood term than “instructing” and I feel it has a more home-y, comfortable, and respectable association for most.  

So to me, the label, "Private Teacher”, offers a perfect balance between cool/exclusive and comfortable/respectable

    ~All terms I like to use to describe myself and my business.


So in lieu of any direct definition the world can give us, I’ve come up with my own:

  • Private Teacher:  A person who posseses adequate knowledge and skill in a particular subject or craft, and teaches that knowledge and skill through focused, individualized instruction lessons to a single student or small group of students interested in learning. With this focused, individualized instruction, students ideally improve more rapidly, and gain a deeper understanding of the knowledge and skill being taught than they would in a classroom setting. 

Voilà!


I believe if you have adequate knowledge and skill in a particular subject or craft, and generally care about helping others learn those things in which you have learned through in-depth study and experience, than you can teach someone else about that subject or craft.  


There is a bit of controversy out there on the question of “Who is really qualified to teach?", however I will explore that question in a future blog post for any of you who are unsure about being “qualified” enough and what that really means for you, for your craft and for your potential students. 


I hope this has shed some light on what I do, and what it means to be a Tutor, Instructor, and newly defined: Private Teacher


Are you a teacher? How would you accurately define your style of teaching? Which label do you think you should adopt or change?


Are you interested in teaching? What would your teaching subject or craft be? How would you teach it? Which label do you think you could use?


Please let me know in the comments if there are any questions you would like me to answer, or points in this post you would like me to elaborate on! 


Thanks all! 

~Your Private Teacher on Private Teaching


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