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Starting a career in teaching piano? Keen to teach piano on a part-time basis or even for a career change? Do you have what it takes to teach piano? Kids make up a majority of students in most cases. Do you have a few tricks or a strategy to teach kids day in day out? If you want to be successful teaching piano, put some thought into this group of people (yes, im talking about kids) seriously and learn tips that you can apply INSTANTLY. This article was written for teachers (and even parents) by teachers. We at YourPianoLessons.com interviewed 5 different Singapore piano teachers of different backgrounds but good 5 to 15 years experience to come up with this power packed ACTIONABLE TIPS you can use immediately. 

But before we go dive into the quick usable tips, I think experienced teacher all must agree that there are some things that a new teacher or every piano instructor must understand to be able to do well in this career. 

Thing 1 

Different INTEREST LEVEL & PACE

It’s important to understand that all students will be at different skill levels as well as different levels of interest. They also learn at different pace. You and I may know piano skills are highly valued as they bring the beauty of music into the world, help one expresses himself, trains the right and left brain, trains memory, etc and could be a skill that bring in the dough some day. But the younger students need to discover this for themselves. They may not know the why. Some of the young piano students will be taking lessons as they are interested in learning; they look forward to learning a new skill.  But there are those young students who don’t want to be there and are only attending as their parents are forcing them to go. As you learn how to teach Piano, one big task you will be charged with, is INSTILLING A MUSICAL PASSION in the student. This is only possible if you learn to look at each student as an individual case, because we all know that people learn at varying pace.

Thing 2 

Desire to teach & Patience

The physical prerequisites of how to teach piano may be as simple as having a certificate, a piano and a place to practice with your students. Yet there is so much more to it, and even more so, for those who will be teaching children. A sincere desire to help these young people learn and PATIENCE is required. Children are be able to tell if you are not a nice or patient person and you need to make sure they like you. There will be days when you have a rebellious child who is not interested in learning anything. They are only in attendance that day as they were dragged there by mom or dad to the lesson. These days can be some of the most difficult and you will be tested. But it doesn’t need to seem challenging. With creativity and a genuine desire to teach, you will see that it is not difficult to learn how to teach piano and keep children interested.

Thing 3

Parents & young children comes in a bundle

Whether you like it or not, yes, parents and young students come in a bundle! No, you can't teach young kids without having to handle the ir parents. And you can't teach kids without handling them yourslf without the parents. And just like school, parents and teacher and student MUST work hand in hand for the best result. 

 

A piano lesson template

If you have a new student who has absolutely no experience with playing the piano, then its best to start off with some basic chords. The initial efforts of how to teach piano will be composed primarily of teaching chords, hand positions, piano keys, plus notes and scales.    

A rule of thumb when laying out your lesson plan includes the following strategies:
•    A time to greet the student to make them feel comfortable
•    Depending on the time of the class you should plan at least a few minutes to warm up. This is to practice and refresh lessons learned in the previous class. This step is critical especially for children who can lack attention span.
•    Monitor the student’s ability regarding what they learned in the last lesson, this will determine if they are ready to move on to the next level or maybe they need to repeat the lesson again today.
•    If the student is ready then introduce a new lesson. If you feel that the lesson is difficult then you may want to break the lesson onto sections. The way you break down these lessons is critical in the methodology of how to teach piano. Make sure to be patient and not rush things.
•    Take some to time to study the fundamentals with your student. Things to study and understand include notes, note naming and rhythm and how they correspond with the intended musical style they will be learning. When you spend the time teaching piano fundamentals, make sure to end the lesson by implementing these lessons, it’s important for the student to end the lesson feeling that they have learned something and that they are making progress. These are all required skills for you to master as you learn how to teach piano.

 

Tip 1

Humour

Whether you are going to teach the Piano as a business of as just a fun hobby helping a few people, your attitude will reflect upon the potential success of your new endeavor. When learning how to teach piano we need to remember the most important fundamental of all, people. Remember to keep a sense of humor as you are dealing with a process where people will be making mistakes continuously. A teacher that is negative and full of complaints will not only lose students but they will not be focusing correctly. It’s important to remember that they are the students and they are coming to you to learn, their pace and skill level must be accepted and it’s your job to show patience. Although you may think you know how to teach piano there are always ways to improve your skills. From using humor, to allowing them the creativity to create their own songs and just letting the student have fun.

Tip 2

Chidren dig for Games 

Now for another tip, it is no mystery that practicing involves repetition. So the question is how do you get the student to enjoy something as mundane as repetition? The mystery is how to teach piano while making the student feel that they are not involved in repetition. YOUNG KIDS ARE BIG ON GAMES! One trick is to hide this needed practice as a game. One of these games requires 1 dice, paper, pen and some tape. This game works in the following way:

1.    Make a list of 6 songs, and number them on the paper from 1-6. Then use a post it note or a piece of paper with some tape and affix this list where the student will be able to see it easily while at the Piano.
2.    Next you roll the dice and the student keeps their hands on the pianos keys.
3.    Depending on the number you roll they have to play a song from the list.

You have the option of substituting the songs for piano exercises, practicing cords, etc. It’s this type of kids appropriate teaching will set you apart as a teacher and making an effort to use games and engage interest in students when you teach piano will reward you. It makes a difference with kids. Try it!  Tip 3 

Mistakes are ok

Another tip is to demonstrate how it’s OK tO MAKE MISTAKES as this is one of the students’ worst fears. If you play for them and demonstrate that you can make mistakes, then continue playing, this will foster a sense of relaxation as they learn. In this way they can see the fun in learning and they will distance themselves from the fear of making mistakes.

Well, you may ask, how about students who have a poor attitude? This can be a problem but it’s not too much of a challenge, it just requires understanding and basic mentoring skills. As you learn how to teach piano you may experiment with different approaches to people’s bad attitudes. What you may realize is that many of the people with bad attitudes suffer from a lack of confidence. If the student is dealing with this lack of confidence it’s a good idea to be very patient and focus on making baby steps. Slowly try to talk to them calmly and try not to rush things. After all, if people don’t believe in themselves they won’t be participating at their full mental capacity, this will result in a lack of effort and results anyway.

The challenge of how to teach piano is one that you can master with time and effort and most importantly for you it can be very rewarding. To see someone playing a complicated piece of music when before they were barely able to recall simple chords is something special indeed. With these tips you will be more aware of the obstacles and the strategies that are designed to help you learn how to teach piano while keeping happy students coming back for more and more lessons. Good Luck!