If you’ve followed my work for a length of time, you’d know pop piano teaching is a huge passion for me.
Pop piano teaching transformed how I approach musical education – through pop music and chords we can teach so many essential elements of music.
Yet, still pop music is not a part of every teacher’s lessons.
In my Inner Circle community, one of my first and most popular courses is titled Pianoflix: How to Teach Pop Piano.
Today, I’d like to take you inside this course for a quick tour. Make sure you read to the bottom to grab a special free download today too!
Pop music quite often isn’t that hard to learn, but a lot of teachers are hesitant to adopt this style of teaching.
Trust me, widening your teaching skills to include pop music, alongside more traditional styles of music, will have so many benefits for your students.
My pop course has eight modules, designed to give you the tools and confidence to tackle pop piano teaching head on.
Here are the modules:
I’d like to give you some handy tips to take away from today’s read, even if you aren’t an Inner Circle member and can’t access the full course – head here to learn how to gain access.
Firstly, have you heard of what I call my Big/Small Method?
This is one of the first things I do when teaching chords to students – and as we know, chords form the basis of most pop songs.
It involves students realising the size of the interval between the three notes of a tonic triad.
Take the F major triad: FAC. If you count the number of notes you are skipped between the first two notes, F and A, you’ll count 3 (F#, G, G#).
Given the interval between the lower two notes of the F major triad is 3 notes skipped, it is called the BIG gap. The top two notes only skip 2 notes, so that’s the SMALL gap, hence it’s a BIG-SMALL chord or “B.S.” for short!
Now take the minor triad F – Ab – C. You’ll now notice that the sizes of the intervals has reversed with the small interval now at the bottom (F – Ab) and the big interval at the top (Ab – C), hence a minor triad is a SMALL-BIG chord.
This is easy to remember because another word for “minor” is “small”. How cool is that?
Another way to teach chords and pop music, and to inspire improvisation too, is through teaching sus chord progressions.
I’ve filmed a handy video to show you exactly how I go about it.
Check this out:
My Pianoflix: How to Teach Pop Piano course is one of my more than 25 courses I have in my Inner Circle community.
The community also has hundreds of other piano teaching resources, from videos, to lesson plans, teaching handouts, webinars, lectures and so on.
There’s also the forums, where hundreds of supportive teachers from across the world come together to become better teachers.
Sound like something you’d be interested in?
Click on the button below to find out more.Join the community
As a thanks for reading today’s blog post about pop piano teaching, here’s a free download – I don’t want you to go away empty handed!
This is a fantastic download that gives you 27 easy chord progressions you can teach in any lesson with any student.
It’s a great exercise if a student has forgotten a book or hasn’t practiced, but I think this should also be something you prioritise with your students.
Read more here about how and why I teach chords to all my students all the time.
Tim Topham is the founder and director of TopMusic. Tim hosts the popular TopCast show, blogs regularly at topmusic.co and speaks at local and international conferences on topics such as pedagogy, business, marketing and entrepreneurship. Tim has been featured in American Music Teacher, The Piano Teacher Magazine, California Music Teacher and EPTA Piano Professional. Tim holds an MBA in Educational Leadership, BMus, DipEd and AMusA.