A few weeks ago we did a piano teacher poll to determine which age group piano teachers prefer to teach. It was no surprise to learn that teaching piano to teenagers finished dead last. And let’s be honest, who can blame the poll respondents… teenagers can be terrifying 🙂
Now I am lucky enough to have young children of my own who still think I am superman. I am eons away from a house full of hormones. But I did spend years teaching teenagers in the public school system before launching TeachPianoToday.com, and what I learned is invaluable for piano teachers with teenage students.
Teaching Piano To Teenagers – Things to Consider
1. The Teenage Scientist
Expect your teenage piano students to become studious scientists, experimenting with different interests, appearances, and ideals. They’re trying to figure out their place in the world, so don’t be shocked if the sweet little girl in the princess dress starts showing up for piano lessons in full “goth” garb.
And don’t be shocked if sonatas begin to be replaced by “ska”. Do not discredit any new musical tastes (unless of course the music is crossing moral boundaries)… instead embrace them. Teenage piano students are trying to figure out what they like and what they don’t. They won’t want to play “ska” forever… I promise!
2. Rebel With a Cause
Don’t be surprised if your diligent piano student begins to skip a practice or two or suddenly starts to pull away from you emotionally. As mentioned, teenagers are trying to form their own identity. Give them some leeway… but not too much! You still need to set reasonable expectations for your teenage piano students and hold them accountable. Even if they moan and groan about it, deep down you are showing them you really care by not giving up on them.
3. Appearance is Everything
Expect your teenage piano students to want to take a hiatus from piano recitals… especially if you operate a young piano studio. The last thing a teenager wants is to be seen playing in a recital where the most popular piece on the program is Twinkle Little Star. Instead, provide performance opportunities that have a “cool factor” about them.
4. Friends, Friends, and More Friends
It’s all about the friends! Teenagers associate very strongly with their peer groups. Help your teenage piano students connect with one another. Hold teenager-only piano recitals, master classes, and other gatherings that create friendships and bonds. If you teenage piano students feel a connection with other teenage piano students they will be more likely to “stick it out” through these tough years.
5. And finally… think like a parent,
Teenagers are frustrating. But great parents don’t stop parenting.
Teenage piano students are frustrating. But great piano teachers don’t stop teaching.