Poll Results & Making Piano a Priority

Thank you to all who participated in our poll – it is great to see the variety of ways that we teach rhythm to our students!
How do you teach beginning students to count rhythm?

Other Answers & Comments:
1: “ta-ta-half note”
2: “ta-ta-ta-ta or ti-ti”
3: “Gordon method”
4: “I start with the 1-1-1-2, but I move them to 1-2-3-4 as soon as I possibly can, based on when they ‘get it.'”

This week we would like to talk about The Over-Scheduled Student and Keeping Teenage Students Interested. Although two different topics, I think that these are very related to one another in that they both fall into the category of Making Piano a Priority in a student’s life.

How can teach effectively to help make piano an important part of our students’ lives? Are piano lessons fun, exciting and engaging? Are our students progressing enough to keep them loving it? How can we communicate to our students and their parents the importance of consistent practice? What can we do to keep an open line of communication going with the parents to help encourage practice and continued piano study?

I just read a great post on this subject on the “Music for Tots” blog. One thing I loved about this post was that the author talked about weighing the importance of music study as a family and then prioritizing accordingly. So what does that mean to me as a piano teacher? To me it illustrates the importance of educating parents about the importance of music in their child’s life and about the importance of effective and consistent practice. It reminds me of my important role in making lessons a positive part in my students’ lives, in discovering each student’s unique strengths and abilities and in teaching each student in such a way as to help them learn and progress.

Thoughts? Comments? 🙂

p.s. Don’t forget to take our new poll!

Jennifer Boster

2 Responses to “Poll Results & Making Piano a Priority

  • I'm so glad you are opening up this topic for discussion, Jenny! I've decided to make significant changes to the way I run my studio this year to emphasize the importance of music in our lives and hope that my students catch on!!

    For the first time, I decided to do a Practice Incentive program. I don't really like the idea of "bribing" my students to practice, but I hope that they understand the value of their musical journey and progress. So I'm rewarding for musical achievement in lessons as well as participation in other musical activities outside of lessons – such as attending a concert or composing their own piece of music.

    I've always tried to tune in to what kind of music my students like so that I can pick out appropriate supplemental material. Letting them know that I found the "perfect" piece for them lets them know their value in my studio and also get excited that they have their own "special" piece. This usually sparks their interest after chugging along in the lesson books.

    Also, I have always stressed the importance of daily practice to my students/parents. Homework from school is not an "every other day" activity, so why should piano be? Also, if they are investing in piano lessons, i hope the reason is that they value the effects of music education and general well-being (most do).

    Playing the piano is seriously the BEST homework anyone could have! It is mentally challenging, but yet super fun and rewarding. Why wouldn't anyone want that to be a priority in their life?!

    All that being said…I'm still working on some of the teenagers. That just isn't a fun age group to teach 🙂

  • Thanks for the great, insightful comment Mariel! You make some really good points! Thank you!