A Patient Piano Teacher
A patient piano teacher knows when to back off, when to be less demanding, and when to switch to an activity that provides relief from stress. The child’s stress usually comes from the teacher’s insistence on following a set curriculum, with a set timetable. Kids don’t practice because kids are kids. Browbeating them and insisting on concentration when they can’t deliver it is torture to a kid.
Find Out What They Can Do Today
A better approach is to know what you want to teach the child. Then find out what part of that curriculum is palatable to them that day, and try that. Curriculum at this level can be taught in any order, and complying with the child makes them cooperative. Sometimes kids are in no mood for anything, and then you have to back off completely. Be crafty, and disguise a simple skill as nothing.” Force never works. Force always has an equal reaction, which is apathy. Try to see it from the child's point of view.
Combine Old And New Schools
Combine the old school, conventional methods with the newer ideas, like Piano By Number. If you present your tool chest in the right proportion, the child will be interested, regardless of their mood. You need to be constantly assessing the state of the patient/student to see what they are capable of at that moment.
A Solution For Curriculum Burnout
Retreat to numbers when the child tires of reading music. When they get tired of numbers, I switch to piano games. When they get tired of piano games, I switch to hilarious music history. Once they are laughing, we can start again at the top of the list.
Be Aware Of The Child’s Mood
The best advice on salesmanship I ever got was from a real estate entrepreneur, who said to me, “You’ve got to have a thermometer ten feet long to sense the mood in the room. That’s what sells: sensitivity.” Students who play under their own steam want to play. At times kids will simply not be in the mood for anything.
What If They Don’t Want A Lesson?
At such times, I play a game called ATOMIC PIANO LESSON. The child sits on a chair or the sofa, and I play piano, asking them for their reactions to the music I am playing. It is really ear-training, but they will never know it. I ask them to play a C chord while they sit on the sofa, six feet away.
Of course they can’t, but they pretend to reach. Then they laugh. I seem to be asking for the impossible. Once they are laughing, they will return to the piano and play a tune or two, usually with one finger. We laugh. But we are still in agreement, because we had fun: we will keep trying. Tomorrow is another day.
(This title comes in two versions: Printed $34.95, and eBook $12.95)