Why Pianists Teach

The desire to share things is universal. As musicians, teaching others — sharing what we have learned musically — is a fundamental part of who we are. Someone asked me recently why so many excellent pianists have chosen to teach piano. Why don’t we just stick to performing? Why subject ourselves to legions of piano students who might not practice as much as we hope they would? I think I know why. Here are six reasons pianists choose to teach.

Those who are inspired want to inspire others.

Every good pianist had at least one influential piano teacher who inspired them to great things. When you have a taste of that inspiration, it changes you. The changes are positive; they feel good. And you want others to share those positive feelings. Pianists teach piano lessons to help others be inspired.

Teaching piano lessons is passing on a legacy.

Culture, and especially music, requires a firm commitment to “passing the faith along”, as Billy Joel sings in one of his songs. When you have received a legacy of music and have understood where music comes from, you are apt to pass it along to anyone who might be interested. When you’re passionate about something, you want other to experience it!

Teaching piano lessons is rewarding.

Pianists teach piano lessons because they see results. The joy and feelings of accomplishment piano lessons bring students are very rewarding. Watching your student blaze through the melody of Yankee Doodle — when just a few months ago he didn’t know where middle C was — can be a truly rewarding moment that you get to experience with your student.

Teaching piano lessons is a great career.

When you get to do something you love and get paid for it, you’ve achieved something great! A career as a piano teacher offers a lot of flexibility. It is a great creative outlet. When it comes to a career, it just doesn’t get any better than that.

Music offerings in public schools is on the decline.

Not so long ago, music was very much part of the school day. Most schools had music teachers and active music programs consisting of band, marching band, orchestra, choir, and glee club. In recent years, as budget constraints have forced school systems to cut their music programs, many pianists feel an even more urgent and pressing need to help the younger generation learn piano.

Piano music is beautiful music.

More than three hundred years ago, an English playwright and poet named William Congreve (no, not William Shakespeare) introduced the world to the sentiment, “Music has charms to soothe a savage breast.” The beauty and charm of music — and, especially (in my opinion) of piano music — is something we pianists want to share with as many people as possible.

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