When you create a positive environment in your piano lessons, you get a positive effect. After a recent lesson, this teacher got a hug!
Old MacDonald Had A Farm
In a recent piano lesson, I was working with a very beginner piano student. Her name is Olivia. She’s a smart kid, and knows that by acting like something is hard or expressing that she is tired can often get a teacher like me to pull back a little bit.
Olivia is learning Old MacDonald and she’s doing well, but we need to get over the hump of it sounding like she doesn’t know what she’s doing. We need to make it sound like a song! At these early ages, most students don’t know how to try harder to make it happen on their own.
Piano Lessons Are Fun
Wile Olivia is pulling back I like to turn up the positive vibes. Each time we finish a small section, I say, “this is fun, lets do it again”. So we play it again, and what happens is amazing. Olivia starts to believe it’s more fun. After the next time, I say again, “Olivia, this is fun, can we do it again”.
Then we play it one more time and as I’m getting ready to move on, now Olivia says, “this is fun, can we play it again”, and now I’m smiling. “Sure” I say, so now we are playing for fun.
After the song is over I add it to her lesson plan and say, “I can’t wait to play it with you again next week”, and she reaches over and gives me a hug. Eureka! We Win!!
What Students Are Telling Us In Their Piano Lessons
Most of the time when a younger piano student is pulling back they are saying they are not sure what to do, or are hesitant about making mistakes. Forget trying to fix the mistakes, your younger students won’t respond to that. Focus on the missing energy or emotion needed to move on.
Demonstrate The Energy or Emotion You Need
You can teach a student how to feel and act. This will get you way further then fixing a specific mistake in a piece of piano music. In this case, I taught Olivia that practicing was fun without teaching her how to practice. Just the words, “this is fun” with a fun attitude taught her that continuing to try is a great way to have fun.
Results That Last
You better believe that Old MacDonald sounded better at the end of the piano lesson. Olivia’s mom shared with me the following week that she’d been playing that song a lot all week. I really didn’t focus on the issues we were having that lesson but rather the feelings Olivia was showing me. I’m sure glad I did.