So you’ve taken the first step and contacted a piano teacher, you had a good chat and asked all the questions and you are now ready to start taking your first steps into this potentially rewarding journey. Congratulations.
It goes without saying that the journey of learning piano is one which lasts a lifetime, which means that you’re probably going to go to the same teacher for a number of years and establish a solid student – teacher relationship which will be fruitful and enriching.
Having said that it is necessary to outline right from the outset the obligations of all parties involved, to make sure that everyone knows each one’s responsibilities.
Assuming that we are talking about a young person taking piano lessons, there will be three elements involved:
- the teacher
- the parent(s)
- the student
Often times you can see this structure described in various articles as a pyramid; I prefer to think about it as an equilateral triangle for two main reasons:
- while I agree that the student is the object of all the focus in the equation, the pyramid could be interpreted as a hierarchical structure with the student on top. The equilateral triangle, however, has three corners of the same width and three sides of the same length: therefore in a triangular structure we are all equally important and relevant.
- the equilateral triangle is a strong, unbreakable structure: it pins mine shafts to prevent collapses, it is the shape of roofs and it makes bridges stand solid. That is to say that, once all sides do their job, the triangle of piano lessons is absolutely unbreakable and reliable.
So let’s now talk about the three sides of the piano lessons triangle and their respective responsibilities:
1) the teacher:
that’s my job. As the piano teacher I will provide the students with the knowledge and skills they need to progress. Specifically I will:
- support, by creating a positive and supportive learning environment
- observe, by watching your movements and listening to your sound, being always vigilant to make sure you develop good technique and effective practice habits
- plan, by breaking down your goals into manageable steps, tailored to your unique requirements and psychophysiological makeup
2) the parent(s):
as parents or guardians of a young piano student your responsibilities are:
- to provide the student with the support they need at home, such as helping them to practice and encouraging them to persevere
- to create a welcoming practice area in the home, often referred to as a practice “Nest”
- to encourage a consistent practice routine by effective timekeeping
- to provide a good, viable instrument to practice
- to maintain good communication with the teacher by reading emails and / or text messages and answering them in a timely manner when required
- to make sure written homework is carried out
- to pay fees on time
3) the student:
as a young piano student your job is to take personal responsibility for your own learning, in other words to do the work, daily and consistently.
- come to the lesson prepared and proudly looking forward to show the teacher the fruits of your hard work
- stick to a consistent practice routine as instructed by your teacher
- be curious about music
- have a genuine desire to learn and improve
When all three elements of the triangle are working together, the student is most likely to succeed.
As a student, you can do your part by coming to lessons prepared and practicing regularly. As a parent, you can support your child by providing them with a welcoming practice space, encouraging them to practice, and helping them to stay motivated. Together, we can help all students to achieve their musical goals.
I hope this article has been helpful. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.