Giving Piano Lessons

Teaching really is as great as they say; here you’ll find ideas on giving piano lessons, you’ll get some great information and also some of my own techniques on giving piano lessons, most of this information is geared towards children but most of it can be used for teaching adults as well, please read on...

Teaching piano is one of the best things a pianist can do, if you haven’t done it before then get ready, because you’re about to start something so great that you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it. I’ve been teaching for over three years now and every time I get a new student I learn something new, I have to find out the best way to teach that new student according to their own personality and level of playing. So the best way to learn how to teach piano lessons is just that, teaching piano lessons.

When is the right time to start teaching?

Well that depends on you, all you really need is to have your skill level above that of your students and to have enough want to do it. Of course the more qualifications and experience you have the better, when I say qualifications I don’t just mean pieces of paper that show that you know how to teach piano lessons, it’s nice to be able to show your students a piece of paper but the best way to show someone that you know how to teach piano lessons and that your qualified is to play something for them, show them what you have to offer. People will realize that you know how to teach piano lessons once they see the results.

The best way to start your first lesson is to have your student play something for you, (but only if they want to) then you’ll have a basic idea of their skill level, if it’s appropriate that’s what the first lesson can be about, adding more to the piece or showing and teaching them ways of improving it. After they play something, it’s your turn, play them something that you think they’d like, if you’re not sure then play a few different things and take note of their reactions, this is one of the key things when giving piano lessons, reading your student. If you see that they like a particular style then focus in on this to start with.

Keep in mind that at first, students tend to be very nervous and won’t be able to play as well in front of you but after a few months you’ll find that things start to change, the nerves will start to go, your student will be playing better and better and you’ll start to feel more at ease with teaching, as time passes things keep getting better and better, including your ability and qualifications on giving piano lessons.

At first, stick to teaching music that your student wants to learn, find out what their favourite bands are and teach them simple versions of their favourite songs. If you’ve started a song and half way through it doesn’t seem to be going that well and the interest seems to be going out of it then don’t be afraid to drop it, in the next lesson start something new. 

Don’t teach too much theory in the beginning; that can come after learning a few really great pieces so that your student has plenty to practice, if at the start they’ve only got theory and scales to practice they won’t look forward to practicing and in the process won’t put enough time in. On the other hand if you give them songs that they love, if they love practicing, you’ll come back the next week and be amazed at how much time they’ve put in and how much they’ve improved. Also with giving piano lessons, you have to be able to teach how to practice, so don’t just show how to play a song, show how to practice that song as well, then during the week your student will be practicing and improving to the best of their abilities.

OK now that you’ve got the big picture lets go onto some great tips for how to teach piano lessons

Teach from memory at first. If it’s a beginner that your teaching it’s always a good idea to teach from memory, show what keys to hit and then she or he can copy what you show. Teach in bits, bit by bit you’ll gradually build up a whole song from memory and throughout the week your student can go to the piano and play what they’ve learnt not having to worry about sheet music or theory; of cause, it can be different if he or she can already read music.

When improving on a piece, work on small parts at a time, a particular phrase or run, this is the best way to improve technique. Don’t keep going through a song from start to finish as this will take up too much time.

In the beginning, especially for children always tell them what they’re doing right, don’t tell them “that’s not how you do it” or “that sounded awful”. How can you make them better if you can’t tell them what they’re doing wrong, well the best way to do this is to show them, say to them “see if you can make this sound more like this” or “this is the best way to hold your hand” or “you might find it easier to use this fingering” and so on. When they do something right let them know, tell them “that’s great” or “that’s exactly how it should go” or the best one for when it really is perfect “perfect”.

I could go on and on about giving piano lessons, there’s so much to talk about but there’s only so much that you can put on a web page so eventually I’ll be adding links to all sorts of resources and information on giving piano lessons, so check back every so often. Here is More Piano Learning.

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