This “little firecracker”, we’ll call him Jake, was one of my most challenging students when I first started teaching piano.
Following a piano lesson with Jake, my studio was a mess, and my mental health was even worse. But his mom was sweet, and I was new (and desperate), and so Jake became a regular.
Well, what was bad quickly became worse. But I got wiser. And I started to hustle.
Suddenly, piano pieces like “Merrily We Roll Along” became “Dirk the Dragon Slayer”, flashcards became games of War, and finger warm-ups became “5 seconds to play like an animal”.
And suddenly, Jake started to improve… my mental health started to stabilize, and Jake’s mom was apologizing less and less for her son’s behavior during piano lessons.
Not only that, but Jake’s Mom started to talk… to everyone. And my phone started to ring. And my piano studio started to grow. By the end of October, Jake’s mom had referred 6 students to my piano teaching studio; 6 students (and their money) I wouldn’t have had without Jake. And all 6 were lovely students!
That first month with Jake was difficult. But I stuck it out. And my most challenging piano student became a “word of mouth” marketing machine.
How do I deal with Difficult Students Today?
The same way I did when I started… by working ferociously to discover their interests and by applying those interests to my piano teaching. Along the way we have created some tremendous materials that have tamed the wildest of beasts…