improving as a teacher, Motivation, Studio Business

9 Ideas for Motivating Piano Students

I’m sure we have all had students who are low on motivation at one point or another.  It’s not always easy to keep students practicing week after week.  To make matters complicated, every student is different: something that motivates one student might not work for the next.

Here are some ideas for increasing motivation among your piano students:

  1. Take lessons yourself. Put yourself in their shoes – literally.  Remember what it’s like to have a busy week and have a hard time finding time for practice?  Remember what it’s like to when your pieces don’t play as well in the lesson as they did at home?  You can be more genuinely understanding and make better suggestions for solutions if you are taking lessons yourself and going through the same situations that they are.  Think you don’t have time for lessons?  Try to find someone who’s willing to take you on every other week or even once a month.  Continuing your own piano lessons will probably benefit you in more ways that you think!
  2. Be sure to give them a good variety of repertoire. Make sure there is plenty of variety in the music they are working on.  Find out what types of music they like.  Supplement their method book(s) with new age piano (think Jim Brickman), hymn arrangements, jazz/blues, pop music, soundtrack/music theater music (think Disney, High School Musical, or Twilight – whatever is currently popular!).  No matter the student, however, I always make sure they are working on something classical too.  There are so many different types of great music within classical music – I truly believe there is something for everyone! Continue reading “9 Ideas for Motivating Piano Students”
Announcements, Practice

Dealing with Frustration: Be Okay with Mistakes & Keep it Fun!

At a piano lesson this week, I observed my student grow increasingly frustrated with herself whenever she made a mistake.  She would “growl” at herself and start back at the beginning of the phrase.

After observing this continue for a few moments, I decided to stop her and address the issue.

There were three reasons why I decided to address this issue:

  1. She was growing increasingly frustrated with herself.  And frustration doesn’t usually yield positive results.
  2. I could tell this was becoming a habitual response.  When she is practicing at home, she is obviously doing the same thing there.
  3. We were sight-reading.  She had never seen this piece before, and there was no reason that she should expect to play it perfectly upon first try.  She is only 7, and hasn’t had much experience with sight-reading yet anyway.

Continue reading “Dealing with Frustration: Be Okay with Mistakes & Keep it Fun!”

Forum Q&A's

The August Forum: How do you keep your students motivated?

This month’s discussion topic:

How do you motivate your students?  How do you keep them coming back year after year? How do you keep them exciting about taking lessons?  How do you keep them practicing? What have you found works for your students?  Have some things worked better for some students, but not for others?

Please take a moment to contribute your thoughts and ideas!

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Resources, Studio Business

Piano as a way to build community

Check out this fascinating news story:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x6LeEKX1mLE

It’s great to see the great potential music (especially the piano) has to connect members of a community in a unique way!  This story really got me thinking: what are some ways we as teachers of music can use our skills to connect and benefit the community?  We tend to set our focus on just our studios, and admittedly we sometimes get overly competitive with other teachers in the area.  Wouldn’t it be great to join forces as teachers/musicians in a particular community and find ways serve the greater community?  (Ideas, anyone?)  =)

For more:

Visit artist Luke Jerram’s “Play Me, I’m Yours” website to view video uploads of various pianists playing on the pianos in cities all over the world.