I believe there are 4 very important elements integral to piano lessons. The first is playing music together. The second is learning how to practice. The third is learning new concepts. The fourth is feedback.
Feedback- Good or Bad?
As a piano teacher, I often swing back and forth between feeling like I am too “easy” or too “tough” with my expectations. Because my students are at the age of 5-10, I do not expect perfection in execution. However, I do often find myself correcting my students’ mistakes over and over again. After all, it is what my job is right?
The major issue with this is that students get frustrated that they can not perform the correction. In response, I find it instinctual to continue working on the problem, until we hear one solid good take. However, I remind myself this is not always possible!
It is true that progress in piano comes with repetitions. However, it is important to remember that endless repetition is not the answer. Not only does repetitive block practicing discourage students, it prevents students from understanding the piece as a whole song.
In addition, this kind of teaching limits the amount of music the student can learn in a year. Instead, I aim to expose the students in reading as much music as possible, so they have a better understanding of how music works.
Furthermore, I find that since all students are amateurs working to improve, the lesson can appear to be a lot of criticism. Like all people, young students like to be encouraged and feel that they are making progress.
In 2017, I vow to encourage my students more and make an effort to praise their progress. Instead of shaming their mistakes, I will look to help them understand their weaknesses and provide options.