It can be overwhelming thinking about planning and structuring each piano lesson you do, but it is absolutely vital that you do.
Today’s blog post will explore what place structure has in our piano lessons, and when we should just do away with structure all together, and go off instinct, creativity and natural inspiration.
Having a clear structure and lesson plan certainly helps take the stress out of piano lessons for both you as a teacher and your students.
Read through to the bottom of today’s blog post for a very special free download, my 3 Keys to a Comprehensive Piano Lesson Plan.
Structure is important for a number of reasons.
If you only have a 45-minute piano lesson, you can’t cover off absolutely everything.
You just don’t have time to listen to all of those scales, and other technical work, focus on repertoire, play some sight reading, do aural work and then leave room for creative exercises.
Having a structure from week-to-week will make sure you know what you can and can’t cover each week.
Here’s a video on my YouTube channel explaining exactly how to use my piano lesson plan download.
For some students, they can be scared in a piano lesson if they don’t know what to expect.
Are we doing sight-reading today? Will I have to sing?
Having a bit of unpredictability in your lessons is important, and we will look at that later when making time for creative exercises.
But having a clear structure can help ease the nerves of younger or beginner students, and allow them to relax at the piano – and therefore play more freely!
And if you know a week in advance what you will and won’t have time for in next week’s lesson, you can tell them exactly what you want to structure for next week.
Let’s go over pieces X, Y and Z, and let’s make time for some sight reading and arpeggio work.
In order to have structure, you need to have a plan.
But how on earth are you going to have time to plan each piano lesson along with all of the other tasks you have to do!
I know that feelings of being overwhelmed and burnt-out are all too common.
I think part of it stems from our own desire to always deliver that ‘perfect’ lesson. One that includes a little bit of everything, from arpeggios to aural tests and from repertoire to rhythm patterns.
Of course, there is no perfect lesson and you can’t do everything in 30 or even 45 minutes. So don’t even try.
Instead, think holistically about what you’re delivering in lessons and work on improving your ability to find and make connections between the activities that make up a piano lesson plan.
I believe there are three key sections to a well-rounded and structured piano lesson.
I have spoken about this before and I really do believe this structure will help your piano students and yourself.
Enter your details below to download my worksheet for a comprehensive piano lesson plan! You can use this for all of your lessons and take the hassle out of lesson planning.
While I said structure is good for you and your students, it’s also important to remember why we are all here – to teach a well-rounded piano lesson and give your students a holistic education.
Creative exercises that you put into your piano lessons are great ways to surprise your students, and get them exploring their own creativity.
That’s why I have allocated a third of my piano lesson plan to creative exercises.
This can be playing through some chord progressions, improvisation, 12 bar blues, you name it!
Here are some creative resources I have that you can use in your piano lesson plan.
Of course, I have a full Academy of piano teaching courses in my Inner Circle with more teaching resources, as well as hundreds of handouts and lesson plans.
How do you plan for your piano lessons? Leave your thoughts below.
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.