A GOOD PIANO TEACHER HAS BAD DAYS
A week ago I
taught a day of very bad piano lessons.
I could see it
happening, reflected in my student's faces.
The thought had
formed in my mind that I needed to show progress to the parents,
when in fact they were perfectly happy with the pace I set. It
was in my mind.
So I pushed a
little too hard. I corrected with an attitude instead of finding
a way to soften the blow and encourage them.
The first child
to show a reaction was a twelve year-old boy who is brilliant,
but can't sit still and engage his talents. I have to be very
careful with him to ensure that he becomes interested and
engaged. He is an athlete, an outdoors all-American boy, but still
marginally interested in piano because his friends play and he
was, "Stop being depressing." This is childish honesty at
I realized what
I was doing, and tried to ease up, but I was having a bad day.
Then I taught
his sister, a much more organized child. I can push her much
But today I
exceeded my limit, and this child looked at me and suddenly
said, "Stop pushing me! Piano is just for fun."
Piano is just
for fun! What wisdom!
that was exactly THE POINT: to a child, piano is a fun, elective
If you keep it
on that fun level until the child is ready for more, you will
have a willing candidate for progress. If you lose that fun
level too soon, the child will first withdraw, and soon decide
that the piano is not for them.
find it very difficult to see it from the child's point of
What I have
learned is to look in their eyes constantly to check their real
reaction to the lesson.
eyes do not lie. If they're delighted, you'll see it, if
they're bored or tired, it will be reflected in their eyes.
lessons are more a negotiation than an inflexible
indoctrination, and if you are clever enough to establish the
sense of fun, you may be lucky enough to eventually see real
The only critic
that matters is not the parents, but the look in the child's
eyes during their piano lesson.