We piano teachers share the responsibility of moving our students toward excellent musicianship.
Of course, students and parents also share in this responsibility. But that’s a post for another day!
Beginner – Intermediate – Advanced
What a tremendous privilege it is to see a child through all three stages! But how do we responsibly guide our students through each stage?
I’m convinced that we do this in the following ways –
1.) Instill students with passion and love for music and the piano.
Many students begin lessons enjoying the piano. Many do not. But it’s our duty to help them fall in love with the instrument!
Instilling passion and love for music should be at the top of every teacher’s list.
Imagine pursuing something without excitement. Without joy.
Chances are you’ve been there. I sure have!
But our joy for music and the piano should be infectious – spreading from one student to the next.
Teach them to love the piano like they love their video games, TV shows, or playing outside (do kids play outside these days??!!).
Make it fun and exciting!
Make it a goal for your students to arrive at each lesson prepared and excited to learn.
May they never lose their sense of wonder and awe!
The next two principles come much more easily if they’re guided by the first.
2.) Promote excellent technique.
Students can not achieve excellent musicianship without proper technique.
Five-finger drills, scales, arpeggios, chord inversions, and Hanon exercises all help promote excellent technique.
Albert Franz of Key-Notes brilliantly reinforces the importance of teaching proper technique –
Piano technique could be thought of as the “interface” between a musical idea and the music that comes out of the piano. Piano technique is our control over our instrument.
After all, the most sophisticated airplane in the world is useless if you don’t know how to fly it. So it is with the piano.
Are your students learning how to control their instrument?
(Scales are the first exercises that come to my mind when I think about technique. Here are some fun scale exercises I created just for you! I’ve had great success with these!!)
3.) Encourage students to share the gift of music.
Above all, we should be preparing our students to share the gift of music with others.
We do this through providing opportunities for them to play in front of others in recitals, festivals, competitions, worship services, and community events.
Do you encourage your students to share their gift with their friends and family outside of regular lessons and recitals?
When was the last time you asked your students to play for the local retirement facility?
The elderly have become a neglected part of our population. It’s unfortunate but true. This is a prime opportunity to serve and share.
Graham Cochrane of The Recording Revolution has this to say about sharing music –
Musical talent and inspiration wasn’t given just for you to have and to keep. It was given so that you might give it out; that you might share it with others.
So if music is given TO you, and it’s best enjoyed when it flows OUT of you into the lives of others – then doesn’t that make you some kind of musical conduit or channel?
I like that a lot!
Music should flow out of our students. We pour in, and they pour out – blessing others one note at a time.
You’re helping your students along on this very fun and difficult journey. A journey that yields bountiful fruit if properly tended to.
Keep up the excellent work you’re doing. Continue paving the path to excellent musicianship!
Your students will appreciate it. And so will those who hear their fantastic music.