How To Give Piano Lessons

This page contains my step by step approach for how to give piano lessons. This is a general lesson. I am always willing to change things around depending on the student’s strengths, personality or mood of that day.

1. Warm-up
Usually the warm-up involves scales, triads, or whatever technique the student is working on. Just something to get the fingers moving. It will usually not be new information, I want to start with something they know.

2. Last Week’s Pieces
Hopefully the student’s have practised and so we can go over the pieces they have been working on. This is the point where you decide if they’re ready to move on or if they need to continue improving on the piece they already have. I always want to encourage students and let them know that they’ve done a good job. To me, encouragement is an important part of how to give a piano lesson.

3. Starting new Pieces
In the middle of the lesson is where I usually will have the student start on a new piece. That way, they’ve had some success with previous things. I always tell students it’s better to start slowly and simply. Focus on the details so that next week when they come back, they’ll have these things right. It’s very difficult to “unlearn” something. If the piece is difficult, just assign a portion of it. For some students, learning in blocks is very effective.

4. Theory and Other Activities - Away From The Piano
After everything at the piano, I usually take the student away to a whiteboard or something else. This is where we do some sort of activity to help learning theory or rhythm or notes. This is also the point where we would do any work from their theory book. If you include this in your plan for how to give piano lessons, I think your students will really benefit. The main things I focus on for beginners are note naming, notes and values, and rhythm.

This is basically my formula for how to give a piano lesson. There’s lot’s of room for change depending on the student. For example, with older students I may include things like ear training or composing or chords at the end. In general, I just want to start with something they know, do the difficult parts in the middle, and end with something they can be successful with. And that’s how to give piano lessons!

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