What To Teach Advanced Piano Students

Teaching advanced piano students is a privilege and a challenge. What should you teach them to help foster and inspire and their musical growth?

What To Teach Advanced Piano Students

As a teacher, guiding advanced piano students is both a privilege and a challenge.

These students have already developed a strong foundation in piano playing, and they’re eager to explore the depths of music. To help them reach their full potential, it’s essential to provide a comprehensive musical education that encompasses not only technical skills but also artistic interpretation.

But what should you teach your advanced piano students to help foster and inspire their musical growth?

help your advanced students by providing them with a comprehensive musical education

Table of Contents:

  1. Advanced Technical Skills
  2. Artistic Interpretation
  3. Repertoire
  4. Music History And Theory
  5. Creativity and Composition
  6. A Helping Hand For Teaching Advanced Piano Students

Advanced Technical Skills

  • Scales and arpeggios.
    Your students should never “finish” or “graduate” from scales. If a student can confidently and accurately play a scale, don’t mark it as “done.” It’s then time to focus on speed, accuracy, and evenness. Continuing scale work with advanced students will help them identify and navigate intricate scale patterns in their repertoire.
    Scale work doesn’t have to follow the same routine every time. Click here for how to turn off auto-pilot in scales.
  • Etudes and technical exercises.
    Introduce advanced technical exercises and etudes by composers like Czerny, Liszt, Chopin, and Rachmaninoff.
    These exercises help finger dexterity, hand independence, and dynamic control.
  • Sight-reading.
    Challenge your advanced piano students with complex and unfamiliar pieces to enhance their sight-reading abilities. Help them identify scale patterns, chord patterns, and intervals quickly so they become proficient sight-readers. Click here for a sight-reading checklist your students can work through.

Artistic Interpretation

  • Phrasing and dynamics.
    Teach your advanced students how to shape phrases and express their musical ideas through nuanced dynamics. Help them analyze the structure of the piece to determine where to emphasize or diminish intensity.
  • Pedal technique.
    Work on advanced pedal techniques, including half-pedaling and syncopated pedaling, to create different tonal effects.
    Discuss the art of pedal usage and when to employ it for expressive purposes.
  • Musicality.
    Encourage your advanced students to bring their unique interpretations to the pieces they play.
    Talk about the historical context, the composer’s intent, and the emotional depth of the music to help them convey the desired emotions.

If teaching advanced students artistic interpretation isn’t your forte, then Janna Williamson’s “Piece by Piece” series is for you! Janna demonstrates how to teach a specific historical repertoire piece, covering both the history of the piece and the composer and also points out challenging passages and how to help your students prepare for the piece.

Pieces include “Little Prelude in C Minor” by Johann Sebastian Bach and “Arabesque Op. 10, No.2” by Johann Burgmuller.

“Piece by Piece” is exclusive to members of TopMusicPro.


  • Diverse genres.
    Introduce your advanced students to various genres and styles, from Baroque to Contemporary.
    Encourage them to explore and experiment with different musical periods.
  • Masterpieces.
    Guide your students to study and perform piano masterpieces by renowned composers, such as Beethoven’s sonatas, Chopin’s nocturnes, and Bach’s fugues.
    Not only will these works challenge your students’ technical and interpretive skills, but many are considered rites of passage when piano students reach a certain level.
  • Contemporary Music.
    Explore contemporary and avant-garde compositions to expose your students to diverse musical idioms.
    Engage in discussions about the role of modern music in today’s world.

Music History And Theory

  • Historical context.
    Teach the historical background of your students’ repertoire pieces. If you’re unsure yourself, treat it as a research project.
    Exploring the social, cultural, and political influences can help your students understand the deeper meaning behind the piece which in turn can help with artistic interpretations.
  • Music Theory.
    Deepen your students’ understanding of advanced music theory concepts, such as extended harmonies, counterpoint, and form analysis.
    This will help them make more informed interpretations.

Creativity and Composition

  • Improvisation.
    Encourage your advanced students to explore improvisation. Choose a chord progression, discuss harmonies, and embrace their creativity. These 27 easy chord progressions are a great way to inspire creativity with your students.
  • Composition.
    Introduce the basics of composition, enabling your students to create their own music.
    Composition fosters a profound connection to the music they play and can lead to a deeper understanding of music.
    If you have students who would love to compose but you have no idea where to start, the 4 Chord Composing course is perfect for you.

A Helping Hand For Teaching Advanced Piano Students

Teaching advanced piano students is a rewarding journey that requires a holistic approach to their musical education.

You want to instill in them a deep appreciation for music from the historical context to the artistic interpretation.

By teaching them not just what to play but how to understand and express music, you’ll equip your students with the skills needed to become exceptional pianists capable of captivating audiences.

We understand that this can seem like a daunting task for you as their teacher. This is why we’re thrilled to share our course, “Advancing Pianists,” with you! From 20th November 2023, this inspirational course will be live in the TopMusicPro academy, helping you feel confident to guide your advanced students through this exciting time in their musical education.

Fostering your advanced students’ musical growth is a gift that will resonate throughout their musical careers. Let us help you help them.

Georgina Wilson

Georgina is a piano teacher who loves making learning fun and enjoyable for both the student and the teacher. She is often found pestering her cat or creating music resources for BusyLittleTurtle

 feeling inspired? 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    more Pedagogy posts

    from our blog

    contact us

    Reach out to learn more about our multi-teacher memberships