2/26/10

why I love teaching piano

I just love teaching piano. It can be so rewarding and fun and energizing. Especially when my students love and enjoy it, too. In my mind, joy is a great indicator of how the lessons are going (obviously there are other factors - but really, if both you and the student are dreading lessons, I think it's safe to say they're not going so well...). If, overall, both you as a teacher and your students find joy in piano lessons, then I think you have success.

Think about it. What about teaching is a joy to you? Here is my little list I have compiled from my experience:
  • receiving cute thank-you cards from my students (aren't those the best??)
  • having a parent tell me their child has progressed so much with me
  • working on a challenging piece with an advanced or adult student, and helping them to really make music
  • when my students come to lessons with their practice card all filled up - they practiced every day - seriously, who can't love that?
  • when you realize your students look up to you, or they laugh at your jokes and think you're funny
  • when a student reaches a level where they can play really fun pieces
  • seeing that boost of confidence in a student when they have learned a piece well or achieved a goal
  • helping my students to LOVE music & the piano
  • feeling so energized and excited after teaching a great lesson
These are the things we should strive for! Let's be honest though, this is the ideal, and lessons don't always go this way. On the flip side we've got times like these, where teaching is not so much a joy:
  • when that one teenage boy is ten minutes late AGAIN and didn't practice yet AGAIN (even though you know he really has talent!)
  • when, despite your many efforts, a teenage student arrives to lesson with attitude AGAIN, and acts like she hates you (and I thought I was likeable...)
  • when the student doesn't even want to be there
  • when an overbearing parent tries to veto your assignments you've given the student (for no good reason) (yes this has happened)
  • when you send an oversensitive little student home in tears (after the nicest possible critique)
  • not being paid by the parents, and needing to physically go knock on their door for the money (that is a whole post in and of itself!)
  • waiting for no-shows (which I am doing at this very moment...)
For me, teaching should be a joy or there is no point. When teaching is not a joy, it becomes a chore and it is hard, let's be honest! However, I think that when we work harder to become better teachers, to be more organized, professional, prepared and positive, then the chances of it being a joy go way up. And that is what we should be continually striving for, right?

That is our hope with this blog - that by sharing insights, experiences and ideas, we will all be able to become better teachers for our students, that we will be able to bring the JOY back into teaching piano.

What makes teaching a joy for you? Any great stories to add to the lists above (I'd seriously love to hear them)? What do you think we can do to achieve more joy in our teaching? I'd love to hear from you!

2 comments:

Carrie Jones said...

Hi Jenny and Janina!

You're at it again---I remember how you two were the best of friends at BYU and it looks like you stil are. Thank you so very much for beginning this blog!

Do you have a template for practice cards that you would be willing to share? Usually I have my students mark their practicing in their actual music books, but I would like to start using another tool instead. I'd love to know what you use. If you can email it, my address is care.bear.stare@gmail.com. Thanks!

Carrie Jones said...

How much do you ask your students to practice? As much as it takes to reach a certain goal? A certain number of minutes? Or a certain number of repetitions? How much is the right amount for a young student, and how do you communicate and enforce your expectations?

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