Teaching the Individual, Part 5: Communication & Attitude

This week we are discussing ways that we can maintain standards of excellence in our studios, while at the same time adapting our teaching styles to help each individual student succeed. For this final segment, I'd like to talk about the importance of communication and attitude.


Just as it is important to communicate with a new student about goals and expectations, it is just as important to keep communicating with them all along the way. Communicate with the parents to keep them involved, for they play an important role. Discuss with the student how they are doing on their goals. I think if we can keep a good line of communication going, students will feel like they can tell us when they absolutely loathe a piece we chose for them. They will be more likely to communicate honestly about how they are feeling about lessons, if they are enjoying them or if there needs to be some changes.

In what ways do you keep a good line of communication going with either the student or the parent?


A couple of weeks ago I heard an inspirational address given on teaching. While this was directed specifically toward teachers in a religious setting, the speaker said a couple of things that really resonated with me as a piano teacher. He quoted David McCullough, the great author and lecturer, who said, "What matters most in learning is attitude. The attitude of the teacher."

I think that if we can approach teaching each individual student with a good attitude, no matter the student's ability level, goals or personality, we can truly succeed in teaching them the joy of music. Even if they never perform on a big stage, or any stage at all, we can teach them the joy that comes through making music, and hopefully give them a great, positive experience with music lessons.


Heidi said...

I loved this message on teaching when I heard it too. I like how the quote you included puts the emphasis on the teacher's attitude - (not the learner's). Our attitude as a teacher really has such a great influence on our students.

Natalie Wickham said...

Great thoughts on communication and attitude, Jenny! I really appreciate this series that you're doing on "teaching the individual." I think that it's so important for us to keep these things in mind as teachers. I believe it was a Suzuki instructor who once pointed out to me, "You don't teach piano; you teach students to play the piano." That distinction has always stuck with me!

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