Teaching Piano Effectively for Parents, Teachers, and Students

teaching piano

Piano teachers often wonder how they can engage their students and encourage them to practice outside of the lesson studio. It can be difficult to convince a student of any age to practice their repertoire, especially if the piece they are working on is long or complicated. So, what is the solution? You want to make their practice easier, but still want to ensure they are learning and making progress. However, it isn’t all up to the teacher. It is important for the students and their parents to help with the process as well. In her article, “If Only Teaching Piano was as Easy as Sliced Apples,” Leila Viss discusses her thoughts on how to make practice easier on not only the students, but the parents and the teacher as well.



If assignments are too big to bite off in a week, students will avoid them. There’s a name for that behavior; it’s called “approach avoidance.” I bet you suffer from it at times, too!

So, make sure to provide weekly assignments that provide clear expectations and that can be accomplished with relative success before the next lesson. Here are some tips on how to do just this.

1. Provide clear lesson notes with specific goals. See how to write effective lesson notes here.

2. Set attainable goals that can be reached before the next lesson…”


I have been guilty of this myself. Occasionally when I was given a large assignment for the following week, I would either put it off until the last minute or only work on a section of the assignment. One of the best ways I found to avoid this was, as Leila mentions, to create a list of goals. This gives you and your student a sense of purpose and creates a sense of excitement once the goal is reached.


As far as the parents are concerned:


Set high expectations, then remember what it’s like to be a parent. Understand that some weeks practice will not/can not be a priority.


We all know how busy life can be. Whether you have children or not, we have all had a week where one thing pops up after another and we can’t seem to get anything done that we want to. It happens; we have all been there. So, when your student comes in underprepared, take a second to think about how busy their week may have been and then create goals for the following week accordingly.


Leila Viss owns a tech-savvy, creative-based piano studio, blogs at 88pianokeys.me and authored The iPad Piano Studio. Viss is an organist, a nationally-recognized clinician, co-founder of 88 Creative Keys with Bradley Sowash and coordinator of the Piano Preparatory Program at the University of Denver. To learn all of her tips on making piano easier for parents, students, and teachers, view the original article at https://88pianokeys.me/musings/if-only-teaching-piano-was-as-easy-as-sliced-apples/.

Cassidy is the Digital Marketing Manager at Making Music and has recently begun her career in the music industry. In May 2017, she graduated from the Crane School of Music with a double degree in Music Business and Music Theory. Upon graduating college, Cassidy did an internship with DANSR, Inc. in Illinois before moving to Southern California where she was the NAMM intern for six months. Her favorite instrument is the clarinet, but she also enjoys dabbling with guitar, piano, ukulele, saxophone, and flute.

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