Tips for teaching an advanced piano class for adults
Any advanced piano student will tell you the curriculum they’re learning varies drastically from what they were first taught in beginner classes. The benefits of teaching advanced classes include greater freedom to explore music theory and complexity, as well as working with songs that are more technically difficult to master.
Teaching advanced classes gives you more flexibility in adjusting the curriculum for each student to match their goals and overcome weaknesses in their playing. Allow yourself a little creativity in crafting lessons and keep repertoire choices varied and interesting. With advanced students, there’s considerably more musical possibilities to explore, so don’t be afraid to dive in.
Here are some tips to get you started in teaching an advanced class:
1. Be clear with expectations of the class
Remind new students in an advanced class that effectively progressing through the curriculum will take longer than it took them to master the beginner classes. Patience and dedication are key to be successful in an advanced class.
A good way to help students transition from beginner to advanced curriculum is to correlate pieces from an early advanced-level repertoire to an advanced method book. It can be easy to feel overwhelmed by the sudden difficulty of advanced instruction, and the last thing you want a student to do is lose confidence in their ability to learn.
2. Take students’ ages into consideration
Of course, teaching young children is very different from instructing teens and adults. Keep teens motivated and focused with teaching strategies that build self-esteem, provide time for peer support, and foster open communication between yourself and each student. These practices can go a long way for teens in encouraging them to remain in classes and continuing learning piano.
Piano playing can be a lonely endeavor, particularly for adults because there’s often few opportunities to perform in front of others. Making some time in some classes for students to play for one another will encourage goal-building toward performing for peers. Achieving a successful performance, even if only during class, can be a skills checkpoint to measure progress and become a time for students to enjoy how each other has improved over time.
As a teacher, it’s important to remember that no one is forcing your older students to take piano lessons. They want to be there. In fact, they’re paying money to be taught by you. So, when your adult students are willing to expose their faults when learning something like piano, it’s a good idea to recognize that kind of commitment and acknowledge it periodically during class.
3. Measure progress by each student’s own abilities
Once a student meets and exceeds the high standards of advanced curriculum, it’s up to that individual and his or her abilities to set goals and measure musical progress. The amount of time they have to practice each week plays a role in setting realistic goals as well. If there’s a more difficult piece a student loves to listen to and wants to learn how to play, give them the resources and tools they need to be as successful as they can be.
Interested in teaching piano lessons for adults or children? At the Harmony Road Music Course, Inc., we’re always looking for talented instructors to share their musical expertise with students. Get in touch to learn more about classes for beginner and advanced-level students for both private and group lessons.