Piano pedagogy has changed, adapted and evolved in so many ways over the past decade. So what does the future of piano teaching look like?
Let’s take a glimpse forward and see how we can best prepare for the future of music education. Please continue the discussion in the comments section below.
We will start with the obvious one.
Technology has changed the nature of music teaching in ways that were unimaginable 20 years ago. Gone are the days of hand-written invoices, clogging your studio with stacks and stacks of music books and teaching only to an exam-based syllabus.
Nowadays, we can use technology such as iPads, YouTube, Google, recording devices and so much more to enhance our students’ experiences. We can interact more easily with their parents and provide a much better product.
Without a doubt, technology has become a huge part of a modern-day education. Good luck finding a student that doesn’t own a laptop or iPad.
The latter has become an integral part of creative piano teaching. There are so many piano teaching apps out there for you to use in your teaching. In many ways, iPads have become a replacement for old school sheet music and tedious technical exercises.
Check out this post, Best iPad Apps for Piano Teachers.
Students love engaging with iPad apps and other modern technologies. It makes piano lessons fresh and fun.
So where to from here? Will we see another iPad-like invention, which will shake up the way you teach the piano?
That’s really not a question I can answer, as only time will tell.
One thing is for sure; innovators will keep creating, improving and designing useful apps that piano teachers should use in their studios. It is likely that these apps will take on a more important role in the future, as piano students have less time and want a more enjoyable learning experience.
That actually leads perfectly onto my next point.
Music students are struggling to find time to practice as it is now. But in a hugely competitive schooling environment, it is likely kids will be expected to do even more in the future.
From playing sport to joining the chess club, as well as actually studying, students are going to have less time to dedicate to piano practice.
So how can you, as a creative piano teacher, make sure your piano practice is put to the top of the pile?
By making lessons fun, engaging and enjoyable.
You will need to keep embracing new forms of technology to make sure your lessons are capturing your students’ imagination. Explore composition, improvisation, and different genres of music to make sure your students are coming to lessons prepared. Make sure they are actually excited and are keen to continue practising at home.
Related: 20 Creative Ways to Start a Piano Lesson.
Leading on from this, students will probably take less and less interest in ‘classical music’ and the rigidness of traditional recitals.
You will need to keep coming up with fun alternatives and show your students how diverse playing music can be.
Earlier this year we discussed one possible alternative to a traditional recital. It’s called a Pop Piano Recital, and Tim wrote a fantastic two-part blog series on it. Check it out here.
More ideas like the Pop Piano Recital will mean your students are looking forward to recitals and performing, not despising them. Graphics, animation, lighting, smoke machines, projection…using these technologies with recitals will not only excite your students, but will be a massive selling point for your product.
Standing out from the crowd and capturing your students’ passion for music will be a huge way to ensure your piano teaching business is profitable in the future.
It’s a fact of life that in the digital age we expect to get everything now. Whether that’s sheet music, an online book, a music album or any piece of information, the web allows us to obtain whatever we want instantly.
Your music students have this mentality entrenched in their brains. They will want to learn their favourite songs quickly, have sheet music in front of them when they want it and their patience for learning an instrument will be less.
So how can we work through this?
Well, through online YouTube tutorials students can learn some of their favourite songs quickly. Check out this post for more information.
By importing heaps and heaps of sheet music onto your iPad or other devices, and by subscribing to online sheet music services such as Noviscore, you can ensure your students will always have the sheet music they need.
When it comes to the patience required to learn an instrument, it gets a little more difficult.
Fewer and fewer students will spend time on scales and exercises to ensure their technique is up to scratch.
It all comes back to coming up with creative, fun and enjoyable ways to learn music. Moreover, it is about imparting your passion for music onto your students. Using different technologies, especially iPad apps, you can help your students do the ‘nitty gritty’ bits of piano practice in an enjoyable way.
The Inner Circle is another great way to ensure your piano teaching is up-to-date and creative. This community of global music teachers is designed to give you the tools to become a creative piano teacher. You can check it out here.
Okay, so we have had a little look into the mentality of our future students. But what about the physical construction of pianos? How might that change?
In the past decade, we have seen pianos fitted with headphone jacks, self-playing pianos and the rise in popularity and quality of digital pianos.
The piano has not changed that much over the past 250 years. But the future holds plenty of exciting options for pianos and how we play them. Hybrid digital-acoustic pianos are already evolving. Who knows what will be next?
Importantly, digital pianos are becoming an increasingly attractive option for parents. They are often cheaper, more technologically advanced and can provide your students with an affordable piano experience that isn’t too far off an acoustic piano.
Tim has been speaking quite a bit about this recently. You may remember his Open Letter to Piano Parents, which addressed the ways musical education is changing.
There is no doubt that traditional assessment-based teaching just is not as effective as it may have been in the past. This is especially true when it comes to your piano students sitting exams.
Exams can serve a purpose to motivate and inspire your students, but they should not be the entire reason behind why your students are learning the piano.
More and more teachers are working this out. As this happens, the role of a teacher will change from a ‘know-it-all’ to a learning helper and motivator. It is up to you, as a modern piano teacher, to ensure this change begins now in your studio.
Make sure your students are not stuck on the piano exam express. Inspire them to learn music for the love of the instrument, for the love of creativity and for the love of music.
Piano pedagogy is evolving and with it a need to stay up-to-date with future teaching methods.
One way to do this is by attending conferences, online webinars and interacting with piano teachers from all over the world.
Many piano teachers are currently not including professional development costs in their teaching rates.
But think about it.
By attending talks and lectures on different ways to teach piano, you will become a better teacher and provide better lessons for your students. It is all benefiting your students and their parents. It could be the difference between your student quitting and forming a lifelong passion for music.
Seriously consider joining groups such as Tim’s Inner Circle, attending conferences and just generally interacting with more and more music professionals. You will learn so much and the internet is an amazing tool for communicating to people around the world.
There is really no way to tell what the future of music and piano education holds. One thing is for sure, technology is continuing to evolve and with it, teachers will need to stay current and keep adapting.
What do you think piano teaching will look like in 10 years? What about 20 years? Leave your thoughts, questions and even concerns in the comments section below.