The Difference Between The Worst And Best Piano Teacher
Lesson 9: The Difference Between The Worst And Best Piano Teacher
The difference between the worst and the best piano teacher is always attitude. Good piano teachers are positive and patient. The worst are fountains of negativity. Here are ten of the worst mistakes I have seen piano teachers make.
Try to avoid these:
Mistakes Of The Old School
- Ignoring the child’s mood that day.
- Not engaging them on their level. You are an adult and must remain painfully so during the entire lesson.
- Not attempting to befriend your students in any way. You must remain professional, aloof and analytical at all times.
- Moving too quickly from one complicated idea to another. Assume that children have your attention span and interest.
- Never using music children know or have heard. Use boring exercise pieces to dull their desire to participate in music making.
- Repeating everything a million times with very little comment. Make repetition a task akin to digging ditches.
- Teaching only about reading music.
- Never trying new ideas or songs or techniques. Whatever worked in 1835 must work now.
- Never altering the agenda you devised for today, even if an opening for further interest presents itself. What matters is the teacher’s agenda, not the student’s capacity for learning on that day.
- Not praising a child too much. It spoils them.
How To Do The Opposite From The Old School
- Seeing what mood the child is in. Act accordingly.
- Becoming a child with them, if you have to, in order to reach their mental space. You can’t really do anything until you enter their space.
- Befriending them and do not be a stern taskmaster. The time wasted in friendship will be more than made up for in cooperation.
- Moving at the child’s level at all times. If that means a month to figure out securely where Middle C is, so be it.
- Always using familiar music to illustrate any concept. Each recognizable song a child learns and can play for others acts as a calling card that says proudly, “I can play songs everyone knows.” This will make them want to learn more.
- Disguising all repetition as a game.
- Teaching reading music in equal parts with playing by ear and learning about chords.
- Keeping your eye out for new songs, or techniques. Take the time to find out what songs kids in your age group are listening to. If a child asks a question about chords, for example, drop everything and explore that area of interest. Music as a curriculum is rather circular: one can enter and exit anywhere without harm, since there is so much to learn.
- Praising a child for every correct move and thought. Children live for the praise of an adult, and when praise is genuinely bestowed, they are inspired to further interest and effort.
COURSE ONE: TEACHING TOOLS
COURSE TWO: TEACHING BACKGROUND
COURSE THREE: PIANO GAMES