Setting The Mood Of Children's Piano Lessons
Setting the mood of children's piano lessons is under the teacher's control, and it needs to be consistent. A child needs to know you will never get mad. Until the child knows these emotional facts, you will get nowhere. You can decide whether there will be smiles or frowns in your piano lessons. Both are the result of your attitude.
There are two other factors to consider: the mood of the child, and the general personality of the individual child. Some children are quiet, attentive and eager to be shown how to play. They have patience with themselves and don’t beat themselves up for mistakes. They have no expectations for themselves other than the present, pleasant moment.
Kid's Moods Are Precarious
Some children, perfectly delightful, are hyperactive, unfocused and couldn’t care less about the piano. They are impatient, get mad at themselves and make a fuss for each mistake. They are burdened with the expectation that they will fail to please the teacher. Add to these two broad categories the daily mood of children, and you begin to realize how careful one must be to set the right mood for a particular child on that day.
By daily mood I mean that any child can have a good or a bad day. The very best can just fold up and say, “I need a break,” and you better know how to give it to them. The slowest and most hyper can suddenly and unexpectedly grasp things. You need to be ready to seize that moment of lucidity and push it farther.
How To Keep A Good Mood
Here are things I never do in piano lessons: Never act like we have to rush because there’s so little time. This attitude will have you teaching at your pace, not the child’s. Time is irrelevant to a child if they are having fun at the piano.
Never have a set goal for that day’s lesson that you aren't willing to change. You might lose golden opportunities to teach other aspects that might present themselves in a more natural flow of events.
Let The Child Digress
Never ignore a child’s digressive story. Sometimes, a child has something to say, usually irrelevant to the lesson. You would do well to waste the five minutes it will take to patiently and genuinely listen. The reason is that a child who wants to talk to a teacher needs adult contact on some level.
It is best to give them what they need and then proceed. I’ve noticed that they calm down, and want very much to participate in the lesson once they have spoken what’s on their mind.
The Teacher Is The Guide
When I watch a child learn the piano, I am struck how similar it is to a professional pianist. We stumble, we repeat, we quit, we take it up again. All the moods a child has are there in an adult’s serious quest to master the instrument. But you must remember that the child’s toolbox is practically empty.
It is you who must fill that toolbox, and the first thing you must put in it is the desire to build music at the piano. If you can’t get the child to love building a song, they will not really enjoy the experience, no matter how sophisticated the tools. Most conventional piano teachers load up the child’s musical toolbox without giving the child a reason to build in the first place.