In a world where the words “piano teacher” often conjure up negative images in the minds of potential students and potential piano parents, your special skills and interests can help you stand out. They inform your way of teaching and are the unique ingredient that draws students and parents to your studio!
I unexpectedly became aware of how I apply my special skills to my piano teaching a few days ago while teaching a student how to play the hit song “Say Something” by A Great Big World. This song is definitely a singer/songwriter’s song which lends itself to the piano’s rich ability to communicate deep emotion – especially when combined with heartfelt lyrics. In the process of teaching this song I discovered something unique and potentially marketable about the way I teach. I teach piano lessons from a singer/songwriter’s point of view!
I found myself using the lyrical idea to help my student understand the chord progression in “Say Something”. Where the lyric is hopeful or anticipating, the chord shape is open. Where the lyric is tentative or afraid, the chord shape is closed. When I reflect a little more, I see that I often use examples like this to help my students focus on delivering the message in the song. I believe that this is natural for me because I am a songwriter. Songwriters carefully craft their lyrics and chords to match each other so that they have a specific effect on the listener. For me, this is the unique ingredient in my teaching. Students who study with me can expect to develop exceptional performance skills in addition to the basic piano skills that most piano teachers teach.
So, my challenge for you is to observe your teaching style during your lessons TODAY and take note of how you explain things.
- What analogies do you use?
- What examples do you offer your students for correcting technical issues?
- What suggestions do you give them for memorizing phrases and music concepts?
- Who are you as a musician?
- What is your favorite part of making music?
The answers to these questions can help you pinpoint the unique ingredient in your teaching that makes YOU stand out in the world of piano teaching!
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