Let’s explore how to teach piano to beginners. Is it as simple as following a method book? Is there more to consider?
Most beginner piano students arrive to us super enthusiastic to dive in to this world of music making. I believe we have a responsibility to teach piano to beginners in a way that keeps the buzz and excitement going.
Reading music should be part of that picture – but it shouldn’t be the whole picture.
There’s so much more to music than just reading. There’s improvisation, composition and technique. We don’t want to let the reading work and the method book take over our whole lesson each week.
However, it can be hard to structure the other stuff in a way that feels productive.
Finding Your Beginner Piano Curriculum
It can be tempting to jump right in and follow along with a method book from the word go. But we don’t want to simply turn-the-page-teachers.
Why not? Because there’s so much that isn’t in the method book.
- Most books have minimal or no improvisation prompts.
- Many do not tell you how to teach and reinforce theory, they just present it.
- Technique and scale work may or may not be covered.
…I could go on. But the big reason is simply that it’s not very exciting, and it’s not a holistic curriculum.
I wrote more about setting a piano teaching curriculum a few weeks ago. In part 1 I talked about why we would want a curriculum at all. And in part 2 I gave some starting points for setting your own curriculum. I recommend going back to those articles if you’re interested in this topic.
How does the Piano Powerbooster work?
I created the Piano Powerbooster to provide a framework that teachers can use for their first year of lessons with a new student.
The course is 40 weeks and each lesson plan lasts about 20 minutes so that you can still use your method book of choice, whatever that may be (learn about my personal favourite here).
I call these “but-the-pieces” plans because they cover everything except the repertoire. Each week of the Piano Powerbooster includes an activity for each of these 4 areas:
Games, improvisation and composition is incorporated at every step so that you can use these things to teach core concepts – not try to squish in the fun on top of work you’re already doing.
Get a Taste of the Piano Powerbooster
If you’re not a member and you want to get an idea for how these plans work, you can find the first couple of lessons on YouTube here.
If you want the complete course and the lesson plans you’ll need to be a Vibrant Music Teaching member.
- Already a member? Click here to go straight to the course.
- Not a member yet? Learn more and sign up here.
How do you teach piano to beginners?
Do you use games and improvisation from the first lessons? What would you like to improve about your approach?