Are you a piano teacher who is fighting a battle with the local guitar teacher? Are your piano students being lured away from piano lessons by camo-print straps, flame-emblazoned guitars and the rumble of an amp turned up to 9?
It’s time to up your cool factor for those piano students who would rather be Guitar-Star Greigs than Piano-Playing Peters. You CAN be a piano teacher who competes with guitar lessons … here’s how:
1) Make the Piano Relevant – When you think Rock Star… you think guitar. The guitar is immediately applicable to rock and pop music today… the kind of music that most of your students will be listening to on a daily basis. To be able to compete with guitar lessons, aspects of your piano lessons need to be relevant to your students daily lives. Select repertoire for these piano students with this in mind.
2) Teach Piano Students to Show Off – Piano riffs are every bit as cool as guitar riffs, but if your students don’t know any, they’re going to feel left out when it’s “show off” time amongst their peers. Teach them the beginning (only!…that’s all they need!) to Don’t Stop Believing, Clocks, How to Save a Life, November Rain, Imagine etc. etc…. and if you yourself can’t play these from memory LEARN! But… please don’t run out and purchase the sheet music for these pieces. The point is not to learn them start to finish perfectly. The point is to be able to sit down at the piano and turn some heads. Learn by ear, learn by youtube demos… show your students how to access some seriously cool music easily and immediately. You’ll be amazed at how their practice hours soar.
3) Teach Piano Students to Jam – One of the many attractive aspects of playing the guitar is that you can easily jam with others, knowing just a few chords and strum patterns. The same is true on the piano! Check out “The 4 Chord Song” on youtube and show your students how these 4 magic chords can unlock the potential to jam for hours with a band or a singer. Teach them different rhythm patterns to add some fun to their chording. Teach them to learn to anticipate chord changes by ear and how to figure out a song they just heard on the radio. Give the piano the immediacy and collaboration that the guitar has.
4) Show Your Piano Students The “Greats” – Everyone can name a hundred rock stars with guitars. Can your students name some rock stars with a piano? Make sure they have great role models to look up to. With exposure to those who live and breathe the piano… and who are completely awesome… your piano students will be able to see just how cool the piano can be!
And while you probably aren’t into painting some snakes and roses on the side of your piano, if you arm yourself with these “weapons” above you’ll stop losing students to the guitar world… in fact… be really amazing, attract a few guitar players and become the new threat in town 🙂