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Ten Ways To Be A Bad Piano Teacher

Ten Ways To Be A Bad Piano Teacher

Here are ten ways to be a bad piano teacher. Many piano teachers have mastered these steps, inflicting stress on the entire piano student population.

First, don’t learn anything other than what you learned as a young pianist. Pretend that time stopped when you left music school. No new ideas or techniques for dealing with children have been developed since then. Children have not changed, either, right? Whatever the teacher experienced as a child must be the same as kids of today. They had the internet in 1964, right?

Use The Standard Textbooks

Second, get out all the old piano books from your childhood: John Thompson, Faber, Alfred, Schaum, Bastien, Czerny, Hanon. Use only these. Don’t explore new literature or popular songs because there are no new approaches worth trying.

Third, resolve to become a disciplinarian. Cast a pall of gloom and failure over the lessons and enforce your rules with an iron hand. Don't let kids be kids. Force them to be "music cadets," headed for Carnegie Hall.

Fourth, be strict about assignments being done exactly to your specifications, and get angry when a six year old does not follow your directions to the letter. Anger and guilt work well with children, yes?

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Use Shame, Guilt And Stress

 Fifth, get an old ruler, and when a child makes a mistake, rap their knuckles with the ruler to remind them that playing the piano is an odious task devoid of joy.

Sixth, without saying it, let your students know that they can never live up to your expectations. Be superior, distant and almost snide.

Seventh, go get a book on child psychology, but don’t read it. Treat every child as if they were headed for Carnegie Hall. Make kids feel like failures if they can’t get even close to your justifiably high standards. Children are a herd of beasts that must be beaten into submission, right?

Eighth, never experiment with anything. Go from page to page in an old book, and ignore pleas, spoken and unspoken, to go slower. You are the boss and the child must obey. Go at your pace, not the child’s. Page to page, not idea to idea, right?

The Child Doesn't Matter, Your Method Is Central

Ninth, never do anything except read music. All this modern talk of using improvising, ear training, history and theory with kids is just an untried gimmick for lazy, undisciplined people. Never allow a child to play a song they love, unless they can read it off the page.

Finally, never simplify anything for a child. In addition, expect your young charges to be interested in these fake exercises disguised as "music," even though it is boring even to the best of pianists.

Guard Your Heritage Of Failure Proudly

If you leave out even one of these important steps, you are in danger of becoming a patient piano teacher. Be careful, you may become creative and even modern.

Guard your heritage of failure proudly. After all, your method has a 90% failure rate. If only one out of ten kids responds to your piano teaching method, it must mean that the other nine kids are idiots.

Surely, your piano method is foolproof, right? You are always right, and the child is always wrong. Never look at the child to see what their reaction is to your teaching. What matters is you, the teacher, and your method.


We've turned notes into numbers for happy beginners at the piano!


Our PLAY ALONG SONGS are produced by Grammy Award winner Joe Castellon of Sesame Street. They're such an important element in making the piano fun for kids!



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