Teaching Piano to a Sensitive Student

Teaching Piano to a Sensitive Student ~ Piano with Joy

Every student comes to a piano lesson with their own unique personality.

They also come with their life story trailing behind them.

This can especially play a role when teaching a sensitive student.

You might not know what’s going on in their life. When they’re on the verge of tears for not passes a song–that they clearly weren’t ready to pass–they might be having a flashback to another time they’ve failed, and deep inside they might feel like they never measure up. They might feel insecure. Or, it might just have been a hard day for them.

We don’t know the whole story.

But we do know they’re sensitive, and thus they should be taught with a caring heart.

What has been the best help I’ve found in teaching a sensitive student?

I have much to learn, but the best help I can offer right now is one word:


Communication is always important, but especially with a sensitive student. Saying “You’re doing well, but you need more work on this song next week,” might be enough for tears to well up before you’ve even begun to instruct them on how to improve the song.

You’ve got to get to the root of the tears or why their face is so downcast.

  1. They might be comparing themselves to their older sibling who mastered the song in one week, and now they’re on their third, and feeling like less.
  2. It might be that they hate the song.
  3. It might be that they thought they had the song down pat, and feel like you’re being hard on them.

In each of these scenarios, some gentle conversing can ease the emotions welling up. Good communication can boost their spirits, help them to work through their insecurity, and show them how gifted they are.

Make sure to praise your student whenever you can; their sensitive, learning hearts need it.

“You’re doing amazing!”

“I loved the dynamics you showed forth in that song.”

“I can tell that you worked very hard on this song this week.”

“You’ve learned so much.”

“I love being your teacher.”

Don’t push forward too hard.

Gently teach alongside them, striving to communicate well and be aware of their sensitivities, and you might be amazed at how your student begins to feel more comfortable, more accepted, more accomplished.

Watch them begin to blossom.

I’d love to hear from you..What’s your advice on teaching a sensitive student?


6 thoughts on “Teaching Piano to a Sensitive Student

  1. Great advice! I’m not a pianist but am a music student and found that it’s a lot harder to feel motivation to improve and practice when a teacher is just ‘pushing forward’ all the time. A former teacher of mine was like this – and he was an excellent musician himself – but I always felt like I was never good enough which wasn’t exactly the most encouraging thing for someone with a LOT of performance anxiety.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have a student who is like this, but I am discouraged because I only see her thirty minutes a week, and I have a feeling that it’s not something I can do much to help her with…I think there are things her parents say that are contributing, such as ‘stop being such a baby’…I teach at their house, there are two siblings who take lessons, so I see parent/child interactions apart from the piano context…the time I heard the above comment, it was directed at the girl because she started crying over her grade on a spelling text. 😦 I try to be as encouraging as I can and am doing my best to figure out how to make it fun too.


    1. Hi, Christine. Thank you for sharing…..My heart goes out to your student as well. She is very blessed to have you as a teacher, and the encouragement you give can definitely make a difference. It might not seem like much to you, but it might be touching her life more than you’ll ever know! Keep up the good work…

      God bless you! ~ Joy


  3. This may sound a bit random, but I just wanted to say that I was so happy to find a fellow Christian piano teacher! (Well, OK, I only have one piano student — but I’m hoping and will be trying for more — does that count? 😉 I found your blog through your other blog, Sisters on Our Knees (which I found when your friend Peyton wrote an article for King’s Blooming Rose), and it was great timing because I’ve been trying to find a blog to read that is enjoyable and encouraging. Now I have a few. 🙂 God bless, and thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Sarah,

      Thank you so much for stopping by and connecting….It’s so great to meet! 🙂 It’s always a wonderful surprise to me the way that God uses so many random things to bring together sisters in Christ.

      May God bless you and your piano teaching adventures! 🙂

      ~ Joy


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