Piano Class Teaching Tips
By Mayron Ellis Cole
- Remember to always teach to the group! You are not teaching several little individual "private" lessons each piano class! You are teaching one, successful, highly motivated group piano lesson. There are reports of teachers (who consider themselves to be "group piano teachers") running frantically from student to student as they attempt to teach several mini-private lessons to each child during piano class. Whew! That's not group piano teaching! That's really badly done private lesson teaching! (Most teachers have been trained in private lessons and really know no other way to teach. If you don't know how to teach group piano, come to a Mayron Cole seminar and learn.) Real group piano teaching--when done properly--produces fantastic results! Click on Seminar Schedule.
- Rarely, if ever do you need to use headphones. If you notice or hear one student making mistakes, stop the group and have everyone play slowly the "difficult" section several times as a group. (You can do this without singling out the student who is in error. Always avoid embarrassing a student!) That way, everyone benefits from your teaching for the entire class period--and that is what your customers have purchased--an entire class period of your time. Remember, headphones encourage you to resume teaching those private mini-lessons as you run from keyboard to keyboard. (See above.)
- If a student has memorized music and wants to play it for you, have the student close her music book and play the piece from memory while the other students play the same music with their books open. Put a "different" sound on the keyboard of the student playing from memory so that you can easily hear him/her. Avoid allowing one student to monopolize your teaching time. You want to keep the entire class involved all the time with every activity.
- Have class recitals the last lesson before the Christmas holidays and the last lesson before the summer holidays. Invite the parents to attend the class and hear the music that was learned that semester. These types of recitals are very casual. The students play in ensemble and use their music. If a child would like to play a "solo" she/he may do so. (You play the accompaniment quietly with the soloist if it will help put the student at ease.) At the end of the recital, the entire class stands, with you, and takes a group bow! Now--how can a recital such as this be "scary"? For more recital ideas, click on How Can I Liven Up My Students' Recitals? found under Mayrons Articles.
- Try to avoid using a "reward" system with your students. This can easily get out-of-hand and become expensive! Students should learn to do what is expected without always experiencing a "reward". Instead, use gold stars or notary seals on their graduation certificates for memorization, lesson preparation, good learning attitude, good piano class manners, etc. Use your imagination.
- Always review, review, review! You will be glad that you do when your students have mastered the knowledge in each The Mayron Cole Piano Method book and are ready to move to the next level.
- In order to "hear" each student play by herself/himself from time to time, assign each student a different "line" of music to play aloud for the class as you quietly play the accompaniment with each "soloist". This type of "by yourself" playing can also be done on recital day for the parents.
- Divide your piano class time into four periods that can be arranged in any order: (1)"old music" time (hear last week's music assignment); (2) new music time (teach this week's music assignment); (3) theory game time (teach new concepts and review previously learned concepts); (4) theory worksheet time. To order theory games, click on Theory Games. To better understand the rewards of using The Mayron Cole Piano Method in your studio, click on Steps to Learning.