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Planning Piano Lessons

From the outside, people might think that not much goes into planning piano lessons. Surely it's just a case of...

  • Warming up with scales
  • Listening to what was practised during the week
  • Working on new pieces
  • Reviewing and wrapping up

Right?

True, some music lessons do look like that. But they can be so much more!

Putting care into planning your music lessons means you can make them more creative and more efficient. And we have plenty of resources right here to make the planning process painless and effective.

LESSON STRATEGIES

If you're running out of time in your lessons, you may need to change your planning strategy. These posts will help you refine your tactics.

My Weekly Piano Lesson Planning Process facebook 1

MY WEEKLY LESSON PLANNING PROCESS

I believe it's important to take our role seriously, and that involves lesson planning. Here's my own weekly process.

Tailoring Piano Lesson Plans for Individual Students facebook 1

TAILORING YOUR STUDENTS' LESSON PLANS

Here's how I combine my students' learning styles with the music they love to create tailored lesson plans.

3 USEFUL STYLES OF LESSON PLANS

Lesson plans are personal things. If you're looking for the style and format that works best for you, give these a trial run.

Gamifying Piano Lessons Why “fun” is not a Dirty Word facebook 1

GAMIFYING YOUR PIANO TEACHING

"Fun" doesn't need to be squished in on top of everything else; it can (and should) be an integral part of learning.

3 Ways to Beat the Time Crunch when Teaching 30-Minute Lessons facebook 1

BEATING THE 30-MINUTE LESSON TIME CRUNCH

If getting rid of 30-minute lessons isn't an option, these ideas may help you squeeze in everything you find important.

Your Essential Guide to Teaching Piano Online

YOUR ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO TEACHING ONLINE

When teaching online, it's best to start simple. Here's everything you NEED to know to get started.

PARTNER LESSONS and BUDDY LESSONS

One of the best ways to improve your income potential and make your studio more collaborative is to bring in buddy or partner lessons. These articles will help you make that switch.

Lesson planning for partner piano lessons

PIANO LESSON PLANNING FOR A "PARTNER" FORMAT

It takes more time and thought to teach two students at the same time. This is what I've found works well in my studio.

WHEN PIANO PARTNERS ARE AT DIFFERENT LEVELS

In this article, learn what I do when piano partners, buddies, or groups are ahead or behind in different areas.

How to plan activities for buddy piano lessons

ULTIMATE COMPENDIUM OF BUDDY ACTIVITIES

The #1 question I'm asked about buddy lessons: What do we actually do during the overlapping "buddy time"?

GROUP WORKSHOPS

Group workshops can be a fantastic opportunity to bring your students together. Get some ideas for what to do and how to organise them in these posts.

How to bring group workshops into your music teaching studio - three ideas to consider

3 WAYS TO INCORPORATE GROUP WORKSHOPS

Group workshops can be a fantastic asset for your studio, but it's tricky to know how to start. Here are 3 simple options to try.

Piano party plans

PLANNING YOUR GROUP WORKSHOP OR PARTY

Every Piano Party needs a piano party plan. Check out this step-by-step plan from an actual party I held in my studo.

A "PRACTICE POWER" PIANO PARTY

This workshop was all about Practice Power, and we had a lot of fun with it! Read on and grab the free plan and visual aid.

OLDER STUDENTS

Taking on teens and adults is a whole other ballgame. Here, you can find out how to plan effective lessons for older students.

Teaching adult piano students without losing your marbles

4 PRACTICAL TIPS FOR TEACHING ADULTS

I used to complain about their drop out rate, lack of practice, or missed lessons. But these 4 tips changed everything.

Perfect first lesson with an adult piano student

A PERFECT FIRST LESSON WITH AN ADULT STUDENT

Connect with them, set goals, remove the mystique, and do something cool: These ingredients make for a perfect first lesson.

THE ULTIMATE FIRST LESSON WITH A PRE-TEEN

We want to know things about our student after a first lesson, and we also want them to feel fantastic. Here's how I do it.

REPERTOIRE AND RESOURCES

Curious about how to teach pop music? Or why you would want to incorporate rote teaching? Read about repertoire and other resources in these articles.

Best sight reading and technique resources for piano teachers

TOP SIGHT READING AND TECHNIQUE RESOURCES

Technique and sight reading are 2 of the most essential skills that we teach, and these are my favorite resources for the job.

What you need to know to teach piano by rote

ROTE PIANO TEACHING 101: 5 SIMPLE TIPS

If you've never done rote teaching, I highly encourage you to give it a try – and in this article, I'll talk you through it.

How to teach pop music to piano students

2 WAYS I TEACH POP MUSIC TO MY STUDENTS

Teaching pop doesn’t have to be difficult or scary, or take over all your lesson time either. Read on to find out my approach.

SPECIAL NEEDS STUDENTS

All students should be able to access music education, but it can tricky for teachers to make their music studios inclusive when they don’t have specialist training. Get some tips here to get started.

Tips for teaching piano students with special needs

TEACHING STUDENTS WITH SPECIAL NEEDS

If you’re willing to keep trying to adapt, change, and learn, you can successfully teach students with special needs.

SPECIAL NEEDS TEACHING: LESSONS I'VE LEARNED

I'm very passionate about making our studios more inclusive. Here, I share some lessons I've learned from the experts.

A USEFUL TOOL TO KEEP ACTIVE MINDS ON TRACK

In this article, I share a little tool which has made my lessons soooo much easier with students who struggle to focus.

TECHNOLOGY

Technology is not about shiny gadgets and wonderful wizardry. The most important thing about using iPads, phones and computers in your studio is that you put them to work – and these articles will help you do just that.

Garageband to the Rescue

REVIVE RESTLESS TEENS WITH GARAGEBAND

What do you do with an over-scheduled under practiced teenage piano student? Break out the Garageband iPad app!

Tech Setups for Online Piano Lessons

TECH SETUPS FOR ONLINE PIANO LESSONS

Teaching online doesn't have to involve a whole lot of complicated equipment. Here are a few easy setups to try.

Troubleshooting Zoom Piano Lessons

ONLINE LESSON TROUBLESHOOTING

If you have audio or video snags when teaching over Zoom, try these simple tricks and get back on track in no time.

Does planning piano lessons really make sense?

When the topic of lesson planning comes up, many teachers will protest that it just doesn't make sense to plan piano lessons because we need to adjust depending on what the student has practised that week.

I'm sorry, but I just don't buy that.

There's so much more that should go into great music teaching than simply listening to assigned pieces, correcting them and assigning new ones. We must be more than just a feedback machine.

Sure, your lesson planning process shouldn't look like that of a classroom teacher. That isn't realistic and it wouldn't be effective.

But you need to have some sort of process. You need time to reflect on what the student needs, where they are on their musical journey, and where you want to guide them to next.

 What if I don't have time for planning piano lessons?

If you feel like you can't possibly fit in the time each week for a planning session, then you're not alone. I hear from teachers with this problem all the time.

The issue, however, has nothing to do with your lesson planning process. It won't help if you streamline it, digitalise it or find a new style of binder to use.

The problem, almost always, is that your business isn't efficient. If that's the case for you then check out my business hub page.

What if I do just fine being spontaneous?

Some teachers insist that they're natural "by-the-seat-of-their-pants-ers". They do better coming up with ideas on the fly and they're just not "planning people."

Is that you?

It's a tempting argument to make. I get why you're saying it...

But are you sure you're being honest with yourself?

I probably would have said the same thing 10 or more years ago. But the truth is (at least for me) I'm a better teacher when I put the effort in and have a plan for my lessons.

No, I can't plan out each minute-by-minute detail. And yes, sometimes the plan gets thrown out the window during the lesson. But that doesn't mean it's not a worthwhile process.

Just try it for a full semester/term before you dismiss the idea of lesson planning for good. I think you might be converted.

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