When you go on vacation are you an overpacker? Does your husband or wife have to sit on your suitcase as you force a zipper to its breaking point?
No matter how big the suitcase is there is never enough room.
And so it is with piano lessons… it always feels as if there is never enough time. We see most students once a week, often for only 30 minutes. And so those 30 minutes start to feel like the aforementioned suitcase. And in our rush to cram, cram… and cram some more we can forget about the most important part of the piano lesson process… connecting with our piano students.
Students come to you to learn piano but its important to rephrase this statement and realize that students come to learn piano FROM YOU… not from a computer, not from another teacher, but from you.
And if they like you and connect with you and enjoy your company, your studio will thrive and your day-to-day work will start to feel a lot less like work.
So today I wanted to share a few helpful tips for building positive relationships while still jamming that suitcase full of piano teaching goodness.
How To Inject Your Personality Into Piano Lessons
Kids love interesting people. Kids love to learn from interesting people. So you need to share with your students just how interesting you are. And you can do this by:
1. Teaching With Stories
My grade seven teacher was obsessed with baseball… and in particular the Toronto Blue Jays. And as luck would have it, when I was in grade seven the Toronto Blue Jays won the World Series. To celebrate the victory, we spent an entire month learning about the science of baseball. His passion for baseball obviously spilled over into this teaching unit and he managed to captivate the class all the while covering the necessary learning outcomes.
You can do the same thing when teaching piano. Maybe you went on a vacation to Ireland recently… Bingo!… Perfect time to reinforce those 6/8 rhythms while sharing with your student the amazing adventures you had.
2. Decorate Your Piano Studio With Accents Of You
Kids want to know that there is more to you than piano teaching. Share “silly bits of you” in your studio decorations. Placing the odd photo of you drag-racing a car or riding in a hot air balloon on your wall will make you a lot more “human”. Pennants from your favorite football team, a poster of a beloved musical, a framed picture of your very first piano… these are all great touches of “you”. The more you share with your students, the more chance your students will have in finding a common connection to you beyond just music.
However… don’t go overboard with thematic decorations. A studio decorated wall to wall with pictures of George Clooney is just plain weird. Sorry George Clooney fans 🙂
3. Share your Quirky Musical Tastes
Your piano students are going to assume that you are a fan of classical music, but do they also know that you do a mean lip sync to Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space”? That’s just an example… and has nothing to do with my own quirky musical tastes… and now you’re wondering if I am joking or not…
4. Make Meaningful Connections At The Beginning of Every Lesson
Out of habit, teachers will usually ask piano students about their day. But to go beyond the superficial, listen closely to what they share and find a way to relate something in your personal life to whatever it is that happened in their day. Let them know that the two of you aren’t all that different.
5. Share Your Favorite Treats
Truth be told, I added this final point mostly to justify the fact that I have been known keep a bowl of Cadbury Mini Eggs on the top of my piano. Sometimes I’ll share…
Another great way to make meaningful connections?… Piano games! Nothing creates connections better than having good old fashioned fun with your students. We’re creating games for every single piano teaching concept on the face of the earth! Learn more here.
How To Connect In The First 5 Minutes
One of the greatest times to build meaningful connections is in the first few minutes of a piano lesson. In the comments below, tell the Teach Piano Today community what the first 5 minutes of your piano lessons look like…