- Max Kuehn
Looking to teach piano but don’t know where to start? Our guide on how to teach piano for beginners will have you playing and teaching in no time! The piano is a wonderful instrument that can bring joy to many people.
Teaching piano can be a rewarding experience, both for the teacher and the student. When teaching piano, there are a few things to keep in mind, such as making sure the student is comfortable with the instrument and providing plenty of opportunities to practice. With a little patience and effort, anyone can learn to play the piano!
What You Need To Teach Piano Students At The Beginning Level
When teaching beginners, there are numerous aspects to successful piano instruction. I’m not going to claim that this is an exhaustive list.
However, I believe that zooming out will allow you to see some of the different topics you’ll need to cover with your beginner piano pupils.
This one is perhaps the most evident if you’ve ever taken regular piano training. Of course, you’ll teach reading to your novice piano pupils!
However, teaching reading skills entails much more than note naming sheets. Do some preliminary research on interval reading and compare the various approaches available.
Rotate the pieces
You might think “rote” pieces are a nasty term, but the piano teaching world has been coming up with the importance of teaching through rote in recent years.
The parts that are meant to be memorized have a lot of patterns and are easier to play than they are to read (think G flat major). Rote pieces can also be an excellent tool for teaching technique and inventiveness.
You’re shutting off an entire universe of music-making if you don’t educate novice piano pupils to improvise.
You may not have been taught to improvise when you were younger. Right now, you could be afraid of improvisation.
Composing isn’t as important to me as improvisation…
However, it’s a great item to include if you teach basic piano lessons.
Every year, my students write a piece, which we compile into a book as a keepsake. They participate even if they begin classes a week before the project starts in the spring. Consider the message you’re sending children about music and who makes it.
Teaching excellent techniques should come naturally. One of the most significant differences between your student learning piano from YouTube and an actual human (AKA you!) is this.
Too many teachers do not even attempt to teach technique. They teach scales and other technical exercises, but not the mechanics of playing or how to create good pianistic habits. That tide can be turned.
Scales, arpeggios, chord drills, Dozen a Day, Czerny, Hanon, and other technical exercises are examples.
I believe that teaching beginner piano students the scales and chords are critical to understanding how music is constructed. I would wait till the second year for most children, but you should do your study on this as there are many different perspectives on the structure and pacing.
Remember your students’ ears. It’s incredible to think that auditory work is frequently jammed in at the last minute or not taught at all before a piano test. Please do not share this information if that was your childhood experience.
Music is supposed to be heard.
Theory teaching does not have to imply writing theory homework. That could be something you include, but it isn’t the entire picture.
One of the most important things you can do for your starting pupils is to provide solid music theory foundations. I can’t tell you how many transfer students I’ve had who couldn’t name or locate specific piano notes or other fundamental fundamentals.
You must plan to teach music theory and actively teach it. Please leave it to your learner to figure it out.
Finally, but certainly not least, you must instruct your students on how to practice.
Students need practicing methods and tactics to incorporate into their home practice routines, so they don’t just start at the beginning of a piece, play it through a few times, and call it a day. Increase your pupils’ chances of success by providing them with the resources they require.
How to Teach Piano Lessons
Understanding The Piano
Frequently practice playing the piano.
Teaching piano is a highly skilled profession!
If you don’t have much playing experience, attracting and training students will be more difficult. You are probably already qualified to teach if you have played piano for a long time and have a large repertoire under your belt.
However, you should continue to practice playing the piano daily to keep your abilities fresh and current.
If you have a high playing skill level, a degree is not required. On the other hand, most successful piano teachers have a bachelor’s degree in piano performance and training in piano pedagogy (instruction).
Promote the piano music genres that you are qualified to teach
Classical approaches are beneficial for improving general playing ability and are required for aspiring concert pianists or future teachers. However, if your student wants to learn jazz and classical music and you don’t know how to play jazz piano, you might not be the greatest teacher for them.
Refresh your knowledge of music theory.
While some students take piano lessons to show their favorite pop tunes to their friends, others may pursue piano as a career. Their musical development depends on their ability to describe and exhibit a technical understanding of scales, chords, intervals, clefs, meter, phrasing, and harmony in either scenario.
There are many resources available to help you enhance your music theory skills. Still, a music theory course on Coursera or Nicolas Carter’s book “Music Theory: From Absolute Beginner to Expert” are two that come highly recommended.
Put money into your professional development.
Taking private lessons from teachers who are more advanced than you, reading music teaching material, attending performances, practicing and learning new repertoire on your own, or browsing the internet or YouTube for inspiration are all examples.
A good teacher is also a good student, so keep that in mind.
Join your local, state, or national music teacher’s groups to network with other teachers and stay informed about new teaching methods and publications. You can also study different pedagogical strategies and choose the one you think will be most effective for you and your students.
Create a business plan based on your time constraints.
If you want to make music education your full-time job, you’ll need a comprehensive business plan. If you teach as a hobbyist, you will still need to prepare, but depending on the size of your studio, it may take less time and work.
Decide on a rate.
Beginner lessons are usually 30 minutes long, increasing to an hour as the student becomes older or gains more proficiency. If you have no prior teaching experience but are a proficient pianist, charge $15-20 for 30 minutes or $30-40 per hour.
Remember that the fee you charge is determined by various variables, including your educational background, playing and teaching experience, student references, and the city in which you live.
It is recommended that you increase your rates a little each year to gain experience. Piano teachers with a lot of experience and expertise might charge as much as $60 every 30 minutes or $120 per hour.
Instead of charging each session, charge a flat monthly price for lessons. This is done to deter students from skipping classes and encourage them to make up missed ones.
Look for a teaching position.
While many teachers teach in their homes, you may also travel to a student’s house if they have a good piano that has just been tuned. You might also rent a room at a music store or a community center.
Use a location that allows you to keep as much of your profits as you need while also being clean, pleasant, and favorable to learning. If applicable, include travel time and costs in your charge.
Get books for the piano level you’ll be teaching.
Alfred’s Basic Piano Library Lesson Book series, Bastien Piano Basics Primer Level, and the Hal Leonard Piano Method series are excellent choices for beginners.
While you can sell your copies of the books to students, it’s preferable to have them buy their own so they can annotate their sheet music with notes and tips from classes. It takes a lot of time to keep replacing books that you’ve provided to students.
If you favor its teachings or are having problems deciding where to begin, use a well-developed approach like the Suzuki method.
Some approaches require official accreditation before being taught for commercial purposes; therefore, consider the expenses and regulations before incorporating them into your pedagogy.
Create policies for your studio.
Make a detailed summary of your studio’s policies, including payment schedules and amounts, weather and holiday cancellations, session make-ups, a notice of class termination, and attendance and practice demands. At their first lesson, please share this with your student’s parents, and make sure that both the student and their parents are aware of all of your policies.
Promote your services in person, online, and in print.
If you’re offering lessons outside of the home, place an ad in your local paper, on CraigsList, and within the building where you’ll be teaching. Request that fliers be posted on the bulletin boards of local community institutions such as leisure centers, churches, or libraries.
Tell everyone you know that you’re teaching piano and give current students a referral discount. Only advertise the ages and genres for which you are qualified.
Make contact with local music professors. Introduce yourself and give free courses and concerts and musical accompaniment. Instead of asking that they send their pupils to you for piano lessons, emphasize that you want to help their program.
Your Students’ Education
Thoroughly plan personalized lessons.
Each student’s session should be personalized to their current skill level, goals, and weekly schedule. This is not to imply you cannot reuse that lesson plans, but each kid will require a unique approach.
Guide your lesson plans around their practice routine, either a specific to-do list that they must follow or a bespoke one that changes daily that you build with your student. Be consistent in your expectations for each lesson.
Begin each class with a warm-up.
Slowly warming and loosening the hands for playing are effective warm-ups. Scales, arpeggios, ear training, and chord progressions are examples of technical exercises.
Allow your students to demonstrate how they often warm up at home. Slow them down if they rush through the warm-up to increase their accuracy and safely warm their hands.
Because both ascending and descending scales and arpeggios appear in all music, it is critical to cover both. Also, please don’t put off teaching minor scales until later; it’s ideal for preparing both major and minor scales from the beginning so that the ear can learn to recognize them over time.
Go over the subjects from the last lesson again.
A “subject” is usually a piece from a lesson book that the student is working on, but you could instead focus on études, which are tiny pieces of music used to drill a specific pattern.
This may occasionally consume all of the class time, but this is not a cause for alarm.
Other themes could include technical or musical details like dynamics, tempo, or performing evenness.
Gradually introduce fresh material.
Play the scale in different meters and tempos to go over the key signature of the new composition. Working down the article, have them concentrate on one tiny, logical area at a time. They can then connect the units and practice transitions.
Don’t force students to learn a more difficult skill too soon. Before moving on to a new ability, ensure sure you can show the present one repeatedly and consistently.
Check in with your pupil regularly. Inquire if they’re satisfied with their work, and if not, be willing to accommodate demands from the student and their parents. While repetition is necessary, boredom can dampen enthusiasm.
Incorporate music theory into all of your activities.
During your classes, quiz them on theory issues so they may apply what they’ve learned to their instrument. If you’ve been teaching them about intervals, have them name the interval by playing two notes from their piece one after the other.
When discussing music theory, make sure to use accurate musical notation, as you want your pupils to be able to recognize features and patterns in the music just by glancing at the sheet.
It’s critical to make learning theory enjoyable by providing verbal affirmation of progress and rewarding concept mastery. Candy or stickers on the pages of music they’ve learned work wonderfully with younger students.
Set realistic goals for practice and improvement.
Some pupils will find it difficult to take breaks because they enjoy practicing. Other pupils will reject practicing since it is tedious and draws attention to their weaknesses. Please do not make your kids feel guilty about their learning styles; instead, emphasize the need to practice frequently and thoroughly.
Be patient and frequently encourage your students.
Unforgiving, inflexible, and nasty teachers can lead to pupils quitting music and developing an aversion to it, so be mindful of how your words and actions are perceived. It is your responsibility to adjust to the demands of your students, not the other way around.
Never pass judgment on a learner based on their playing ability, as everyone was once a novice.
On the other hand, if the student has shown that they are not committed to paying attention during lessons or practicing, it may be time to discuss with their parents whether the piano is a suitable activity for them.
When Should Students Begin Learning The Piano?
I used to accept any eager pupil, but I learned the hard way not to do so. Unless a child is a prodigy (which I haven’t encountered), I teach children aged six and up.
This is due to a number of factors:
- They must know the alphabet, at the very least the first seven letters.
- They must have the ability to count.
- They must be able to keep their right and left hands straight at all times
- At the age of six, attention spans are just about adequate.
Is It Possible To Teach Piano Without A Degree?
Yes. Especially if you’re providing piano lessons to beginners.
When learning classical piano in most countries, there is a piano grade that people consider the grade at which you can begin teaching. If you’ve reached that point, you’re ready to begin instructing.
If you haven’t yet reached that level of knowledge, it will be up to you to decide whether or not you believe you can effectively educate kids. Many parents aren’t picky (or understanding) about the teacher’s competence, but you should be honest about your own.
What Are the Prices of Piano Lessons?
The amount you charge for a piano lesson will be determined by your location (including country and currency), aptitude, and experience.
You’ll be able to charge more as you educate more and establish a reputation.
But how much do you charge, to begin with? Per half-hour lesson, I’d recommend around 1.5 times the minimum salary. This may be excessive in certain situations but appropriate in others.
You can always look up what other teachers in your region charge online or ask at your local music store. They’ll know what the going rates are.
Consider your first month, whether you’re starting with a new or experienced student, being an extended job interview. Be present and engaged when communicating with students and parents, and dress and teach with extra professionalism. Fidlar hope you found this article beneficial and let us know if you have any questions in the comment section below.