What makes easy piano lessons? What makes difficult piano lessons? The main factor in whether a piano lesson goes smoothly is dependent on the student. Is the student motivated by themselves? Are they being forced into lessons by their parents? Is it a little of both? In most cases usually the student likes the idea of piano lessons but when the time comes for the lesson, maybe sometimes they’d rather be doing something else. Once they get going though, it all depends on preparation.
Kids these days, especially boys, play a LOT of video games. I assume they play video games much more often than piano! If I can make piano feel like a game or make the end goal of practicing feel as satisfying as it is to finish a video game, then I have broken down a huge barrier. It sounds more fun to go on a mission then to sit down and work. So I might rename the homework for those students. Sometimes the student thinks it’s funny and appreciates it and sometimes they think it’s stupid. I can’t win them all! It relates to a student’s ability to practice. Do they see practice as an enemy? It’s really hard to sit down and practice when you dread it so intensely. When they can look at their practice as a “mission” or a “Quest,” sometimes they can get into it more, or at least get themselves to sit down at the piano. This process, and what it means for the student’s preparedness makes for easy piano lessons, or hard ones.
When a student comes into their lesson, their preparedness, and their willingness to go complete their missions makes all the difference in the lesson energy. If a student comes in and can’t remember which books they are supposed to have out, that’s a pretty good clue that they didn’t do the work. On the other hand, sometimes I don’t have to say a word and the student is already asking questions about the music that was assigned to them. When students take control of their lessons in this way, I’m the happiest teacher in the world. These are the easy piano lessons, the ones where the student brings the energy to the table, where we can discuss the more detailed and interesting ideas of the music, instead of the boring things that they could have easily figured out themselves with a second or two of thought.
It’s much more enjoyable for me to each a student who is asking good questions and it’s even more enjoyable for he student to feel like their work paid off. Super Easy piano lessons for student AND teacher are the ones where I am telling a student not to be so critical, to enjoy their practice and appreciate he good changes happening. This is a unique breed of student that practices ard a self-critiques too much.
Students are in Control
The key to “easy” lessons is mostly inside of them. We can rename their homework or try to make a game or competition out of it, but in the end, the student has control over the feeling
and the ease of the lesson. Whatever they do or don’t do impacts how the lessons go and what track the teacher will take in each lesson. I try to tell my students this but they don’t believe me until they do it without realizing. That’s a fun moment, when they realize they can enjoy something even if they have to work at it!
To really appreciate and notice an easy lesson, a student has to experience challenging lessons, and they usually do. Most students go through ups and downs with practicing and motivation. Some never ever practice. Some rare students practice regularly and enjoy it. But I think most students fall in the middle. They practice if they happen to love what they’re working on and don’t give it a second though otherwise. Wherever the student falls on the spectrum, I think they can all agree they would like for it to be easy.