There is a point on every racket, bat or club that makes the most effective contact with the ball – sending it further than it would go had you missed this “sweet spot”.
As a newbie piano teacher way back when, I found myself asking “Am I making contact with my piano students in a way that sends them as far as they can go? Have I found my piano teaching “sweet spot”?”
The Defining Factor: How I Divided My Teaching Time
It became clear over the years that finding my piano teaching “sweet spot” meant having to achieve a perfect balance within the lesson time. Students who left their piano lesson having experienced the perfect combination of instruction would have a more successful week at home….no pressure 🙂
In reality (and unfortunately), piano lesson time division can often look like this:
Achieving an equal balance can seem almost impossible. Finding that “sweet spot” where you send your student home with just the right combination of learning can be next to impossible when faced with everything that piano teaching can throw at you.
But what is the perfect combination? How do you divide your piano lesson time into the most effective “sweet spot” of instruction?
Scrap the Purple Piece of Pie (Supervised Practice)
Fortunately, early in my piano teaching career I discovered that a good balance in a piano lesson happens when learning takes place in context; where supervised practice is replaced with concept-specific instruction. So, rather than spending time listening to your student stumble through an obviously-not-practiced rendition of their piece, instead, allow yourself to give them the time they need at home to let it sink in. Spend your valuable lesson time zeroing in on a specific concept that is the key to that piece (syncopated rhythm, alberti bass, a tricky key signature etc. etc.) thus giving them a strong skill set for when they do practice it at home.
Fill their musical tool box with theory instruction and skill building that is specific to what they need for each particular piece. Don’t spend valuable piano lesson time drilling measures and saying “one more time from the top”.
Allowing supervised practice to happen during lesson time is detrimental to both of you. It replaces important teaching time with the opportunity for your student to feel both a) inadequate and b) bored. Both of these feelings lead to the need for the above-mentioned behavior modification and counselling! By doing away with supervised practice you gain much of your piano lesson back… and can spend the time doing what you do best: teaching!
Remove the Need For Supervised Practice Forever
A sure-fire way to easily get rid of supervised practice is for your students to actually practice… all the time! This was the main motivation behind our creation of “Shhh…Your Piano Teacher Thinks This is Practice”. Not only does it inspire students to practice for 88 days in creative and fun ways, but it also teaches them how to zero in and practice efficiently. If you’re looking to improve your piano lessons, this book will set you off on the right path. Check out more info here!