10 Things I’ve Learned From Teaching Piano

This last year, I started teaching piano to the kids of one of my mom’s friends. Although I’d thought I knew what it would be like, I didn’t guess at what I’d learn through teaching.
Teaching’s easy, right?
You sit there, they sit there, you point to the music, they play. Simple, right?
Well apparently not.
Here are 10 things that I’ve learned from teaching piano that I didn’t expect.

10ThingsTeachingPiano.jpg

  1. Even the basics are hard. Try to explain what a note is. Or a beat. Or the whole measure thing. Or time signatures. Or keys. Nothing’s simple.
  2. You can go fast, but then you’ll have to go slow. I started out my students fast, but at a point it started getting too hard, too fast, and I had to slow down.
  3. They will never know how much angst you put into teaching. When I first started teaching, I was perpetually overwhelmed by feeling like I was going to fail. Did I ever tell them? No. They’ll never know.
  4. Not practicing is the worst thing to do. Not only are you frustrated because you’re playing the same thing again, the teacher’s frustrated because she’ll feel like she failed.
  5. When the teacher gives you a choice as to which piece to learn, CHOOSE! As a student, I hate choosing when the teacher gives me a choice, but as a teacher, I want students to want to play music, and letting them choose is the best way to do it.
  6. Teaching is one of the most awesome things in life. What could possibly be better than transferring something you love with your whole person and allowing someone else to love it as well?
  7. You’re probably a better teacher than you think you are. While this probably isn’t true for everyone, I know at least for me, I could never have thought I had this level of teaching prowess.
  8. Different people learn different ways…and that’s okay. I’m teaching two kids whose learning styles are ultra different. They learn differently, so teach them at their own pace. Let them set the pace.
  9. Let them play what they want to play. They may not want to play a classical hymn with a teacher accompaniment. If there is any special request to play a piece, I’ll do my best to find that piece at their level so that they can play it.
  10. Never sit in a chair with wheels while teaching. It might get pulled out while you’re in the process of sitting down, causing you to sit down HARD on the floor and losing all your sense of dignity. Also all heck will break loose, and it’s not pretty. Particularly not in front of the parents.

And there you have it. 10 things about teaching piano that I have found out from teaching.

It’s not been all sunshine and rainbows so far, but I’m loving it, and I’m looking forward to more teaching!

Advertisements