As a busy piano and keyboard teacher, I spend a lot of time teaching people to acquire and develop new musical skills and knowledge.  But these same people often teach me things too…

Tyros John

John is one of my adult keyboard pupils.  He currently owns a Yamaha Tyros 5 – the “Rolls Royce” of keyboards!  He has also previously owned every keyboard in the Tyros range from the Tyros 1 upwards.  John runs the local keyboard and organ society, and his technical knowledge of the Tyros is vast: he is a true enthusiast.  Although much of John’s weekly lesson is taken up with building and developing his practical and theoretical music skills, he is also an invaluable resource for me when I need to know how to do something different on my Tyros (sadly only an old Tyros 1!)

The Young Ones

I teach several teenagers in both piano and keyboard.  To keep them interested I sometimes ask them what music they are listening to.  I go and listen to their favourite bands or artists, and then then develop ways to incorporate these into their learning.  This has led me to discover quite a range of music, some of which I would otherwise never have heard (including some I wish I hadn’t!)  Widening my musical tastes is a valuable bonus to broadening the base of their learning.

The University of Life

Particularly with adult learners, I take a short time at the start each lesson to ask how they are and find out about their lives.  This can help relax them before they start playing, build and strengthen our professional relationship and also increase pupil retention rates.  In doing so, I have learnt a great deal from them across a huge range of subjects, musical and otherwise.

All teachers need to remain lifelong learners, too.  Whilst I do spend time on structured learning and personal development anyway, it is good to have the “tables turned” and learn from my pupils.  What a bonus: those who pay me to teach them are teaching me for free!

Do you teach a musical instrument?  How have you learned from your pupils?  Or are you a musical student who has taught their teacher a thing or two?  Leave a comment below to tell me about your experiences!