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
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.
Feel free to browse around, or jump straight to the section you need:
- Lesson Strategies
- Partner Lessons and Buddy Lessons
- Group Lessons and Workshops
- Older Students
- Repertoire and Resources
- Special Needs Students
- Sight Reading
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.
GROUP LESSONS AND WORKSHOPS
Group lessons and workshops can be an exciting prospect. By teaching more students at once, you get to explore the benefits of having a social environment in your studio. But it can be a daunting prospect, as well. Get some ideas for what to do and how to organise your group lessons and workshops in these posts.
STUDENTS WITH SPECIAL NEEDS
All students should be able to access music education, but teachers are often reluctant to make their music studios inclusive because they don’t feel up to the challenge. But you, too, can teach neurodivergent students, and you don’t need to have any specialist training. Get some tips here to get started.
NEURODIVERSE BRAINS AND THE PIANO LESSON
Let’s explore 3 commonly-recognized types of neurodivergence and how to work with these piano students in your studio.
SALVAGING “OFF DAY” LESSONS WITH SPECIAL NEEDS STUDENTS
No kid is going to behave perfectly all the time in music lessons, but this is especially true with neurodivergent students.
PIANO IMPROV FOR STUDENTS WITH SPECIAL NEEDS
Improv is a great tool for teaching piano students with special needs. In this interview, learn how YOU can use improv, too!
FIND ULTIMATE FLEXIBILITY WITH A VIRTUAL STUDIO
I’ve discovered a way to keep your studio running for several weeks…without being there at all!
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.