What Is Piano Pedagogy?

by Karen Farnen
Studying piano pedagogy can make you a more successful teacher.

Studying piano pedagogy can make you a more successful teacher.

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Piano pedagogy teaches you how to give piano lessons. If you know how to play the piano, you can begin to give private lessons without further study. However, knowing the best methods will give you confidence and make you a more successful teacher. Many colleges, universities and music schools teach piano pedagogy as part of undergraduate and graduate degree programs. However, you can also learn the principles of piano pedagogy in other ways.

College Programs

Undergraduate or graduate classes in piano pedagogy teach the methods you need to begin your career. In a bachelor's degree program in piano or piano pedagogy, you study piano, music theory and music history courses for your own pianistic development as well as for teaching. In addition, specific pedagogy classes cover teaching materials and methods, keyboard technique and repertoire. For a master's degree in piano pedagogy, you will take additional courses in subjects such as performance history. College-level pedagogy programs also usually give you practical experience in an internship or practice teaching under the supervision of experienced teachers.

Books and Websites

If you cannot enroll in a degree program, you have other avenues for learning pedagogy. Books such as James Bastien's "How to Teach Piano Successfully" or Dr. Martha Baker-Jordan's "Practical Piano Pedagogy" cover teaching topics such as note reading, instructional method books, group lessons, various age levels, theory and more. Web sites on pedagogy have articles about getting students to practice, teaching to varied learning styles, teaching repertoire and establishing good rhythmic habits.

Groups and Workshops

Groups and workshops provide even more development opportunities for piano teachers. Join the Music Teachers National Association, the Piano Teachers Society of America or a local piano teachers' group for networking and educational opportunities. Register with your local music store to receive information on workshops where method book publishers showcase their latest materials and the best ways to use them.

Teaching as Business

In addition to making you a better teacher, knowledge of pedagogy will help you run your studio profitably. College classes, texts such as Bastien's and online articles cover topics such as obtaining and interviewing students, scheduling lessons, setting fees, establishing studio policies and billing. Take advantage of the experts' ideas for dealing with common problems such as late payments and missed lessons. Knowledge of piano pedagogy can help you earn more money teaching piano.

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