Tag: music teacher (page 1 of 3)

Pupils Who Won’t Practise: A Matter Of Conscience

So your pupil arrives for their piano lesson. They sit and play what they have been working on, receive constructive  feedback, work on some important techniques with you and leave with some new challenges for the week ahead, confident in their progress, right? If only it were that easy… 

Pupils Who Won't Practise: A Matter Of Conscience

photo credit: Alexander Ward (licence)

I am pleased to say that almost all my weekly piano and keyboard pupils practise between their lessons. However, there are always some exceptions.

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5 qualities of successful piano learners…be a brilliant pupil!

What makes a good piano pupil? How can you improve your chances of success? Here are five key qualities to develop…



It’s true: not all pupils are equal. Some seem to develop new skills and pass through the curriculum quickly and easily, others struggle and hit roadblocks regularly. Whilst a degree of ‘natural talent’ has a part to play, there are other significant factors.
So what do good piano pupils look like?
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Do I have to cut my nails to play the piano?  No! (But maybe…)

Should you cut your nails short to play the piano?  Can you practise and play well with long nails?  The answer is perhaps not as simple as some would have you believe…

Boys and Girls

Without wishing to sound sexist, this blog post definitely relates more to my female piano and keyboard pupils than the males!  I have yet to teach a boy or man who was unhappy about cutting his fingernails to play more easily.  The ladies and girls are a different matter. Continue reading

Learn the piano or the keyboard: which is best?  Top tips to help you decide

piano vs keyboardWhen I start a new pupil, whether they have requested piano or keyboard lessons, I always talk to them about this choice.  Often it’s something they haven’t even thought about.  Sometimes it’s a parent who decides and they have a fixed idea about what they want, which is fine.  But it’s always good to ask the question… Continue reading

The power of the sticker: Gold Star motivation for young pianists!

When I taught in a primary school, I received regular advertising from companies selling ‘motivational’ stickers in many shapes and sizes, together with personal progress cards and wall charts.  When I became a private music teacher I continued to use them with younger pupils.  These self-adhesive little bits of nothing contain a magic of their own…

Shiny stars, “Well Done” medals, “Good Effort” awards, “I’m a Star” badges – they all work wonders!  These days as a humble piano teacher I’ve reduced the wealth of my stock down to the bare minimum of coloured and gold stars.  Do well in your lesson – you’ll get a coloured star.  If you’ve tried really hard I might even let you choose which colour. Continue reading

Is your piano teacher a scruff?

Different people expect different things from their music teacher, but what’s really important? Is it the qualifications they hold? Or the skill with which they teach? Is it the price of lessons? Or does their professional appearance and tidy studio matter, too? During a recent ‘tidying up’ session I got to thinking…

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Recently I realised that my Teaching Room was looking a bit of a mess. Of course, we “creative” types like to have things strewn around the room and sometimes it gets a bit out of hand! Continue reading

What can I do with a smelly customer?

I’m going to address a more sensitive matter this week: have you ever wanted to tell someone about their personal hygiene problem?  But then you felt you just couldn’t find a way to do it?  Me too – and it stinks…

I have a ‘client’ who visits my house on a weekly basis.  It would be wrong to identify this person online, so I’m keeping quiet about whether they are child or adult, pupil or parent, male or female and whether they come for a lesson in piano, keyboard, ‘cello, Maths or English.

But…there’s no denying it… they smell very strongly of wee. Continue reading

Get paid to teach while you learn for free!

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!   Continue reading

VIDEO: How to play “Hold Back the River” by James Bay

This is a nice easy one – not many different notes, and all on the white keys!  Enjoy…

Magnetic musical note board makes note learning easy!

Do you teach a musical instrument?  Try this inexpensive and easy-to-make magnetic learning resource to teach note names and positions to your pupils!

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Like all the best ideas, this one is pinched from someone else.  My friend Sandie (herself a piano teacher) showed me a similar magnetic board she bought some years ago with movable note heads. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find one anywhere – so I decided to make one.  It’s quick and easy, and all the materials are really inexpensive.  Give it a try! Continue reading

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