Boredom is like a black hole that sucks piano students in, never to be returned to your piano teaching studio. And as piano teachers we MUST constantly be aware of boredom, because it can be very sneaky!
The problem with boredom in piano students, is that it may not show itself until it is too late. Students may obediently sit at the piano responding to a teacher’s tips or suggestions, giving every impression that they are engaged, when in actual fact their mind is turning off. Often, kids are bored weeks before they ever let their parents or teachers know… and by this time it is probably too late to get them back.
Because it can be difficult to detect, the best defence against boredom is a great offence. When teaching piano it is important to nip boredom in the bud long before it ever rears its ugly head.
To protect your students against boredom try the following:
- Do something novel for the last 10 minutes of each lesson (games week, composing week etc.)
- Get off the piano whenever you can (during finger warm-ups, rhythm activities etc.)
- Break free from the book (piano teaching books should guide, but not control your lessons)
- Play popular music (students should always be working on at least one song from their iPod’s playlist)
- Organize performance opportunities regularly (students need a goal to work towards beyond “completing a book”, these opportunities can be small, informal gatherings)
The list is endless, but these 5 basic suggestions are certain to keep boredom at bay!