Pianists frequently feel stalled in their progression, but teachers have the power and responsibility to help them toward lifelong success and enjoyment at the piano.
One of the most common struggles piano students face is a sense of stagnation. Most pianists will experience stages of feeling their progress is at a standstill. This can be incredibly frustrating and even lead many pianists to quit. As teachers, one of our most significant roles is to help our students through these times and cultivate their ability to progress throughout their life. These are my top 3 ways to help your struggling piano students.
Many teachers require their students to practice a certain amount each day or week, but in my experience, two students practicing the same amount of time might have very different results. The key lies instead in the efficiency of the practice. There are many ways to help students focus their practice time, but my favorite is the Learn feature on Piano Marvel, my favorite piano teaching app. Learn breaks pieces into learning sections, with sections devoted to playing with hands separately, then together, then strategically adding sections until the piece is perfected. Because Piano Marvel provides detailed feedback, including tone and rhythm corrections, by the time a student has finished all learning sections with 100% accuracy, they’ve mastered the notes and rhythms and are ready to work on artistry. When students practice effectively, they learn more quickly and see the fruits of their labor.
When ineffective practice isn’t the issue, some students may feel they are not progressing even when they are. Traditionally, it has been difficult to prove when progress is made in music. Luckily, advancing technology has our backs yet again. There are countless ways to show progress data on Piano Marvel, but a great place to start is the Standard Assessment of Sight Reading (SASR). When your students take the SASR on a regular basis, they have real numbers to prove how well they sight-read now and help them set measurable goals. Other resources in Piano Marvel provide a similar effect for other skills, such as Scale Ninja, Arpeggio Ninja, Method and Technique trophies, and themed challenges. The key is to show students verifiable evidence that they are improving.
Even if students are practicing effectively and are able to see their skills improving and scores increasing, many students struggle to find fulfillment in music. Students can’t only play pop songs or the theme from their favorite video game, but they can always play the music that makes them happy. Students should have the ability to choose from a wide variety of genres and always be working on something that excites them. Piano Marvel has a vast library of over 25,000 pieces, many of which are popular songs today and great classics from the past. You can also upload music you discover through other resources, or even submit compositions of your own to share on Piano Marvel, and help your students do the same.
Whatever struggles your students go through, you have the power to help them find lifelong success and enjoyment at the piano.