Humor Can Help You Teach

Laughter lightens the air.

We don’t want our students tuning us out as we drone on about piano theory.

When one of my students was trying to remember which rest was a half rest or a whole rest, we came up with a silly visual trick to help her remember.

The Half Hat (aka Half Rest)


The Whole Beard (aka Whole Rest)


From that time of laughter, there was something to learn.

Doodle. Laugh. Don’t be all serious.

Humor can help you teach.


Using Stickers to Help Students with Dynamics


All you need:

Stickers! ūüôā

What to do:

Simply have  your student place stickers at the points in the song where the dynamics change. Not only can this help them get to know a new song better, but it can also bring some color contrast to the black and white page, and work as a helpful reminder as they play. This exercise might be especially good for a visual learner who is having a hard time connecting to the feel of the song.


What is one of your favorite ways to help students emphasize dynamics?

4 Simple Things that Can Make a Big Difference in a Piano Lesson


1) Pray a short prayer with your student before starting the lesson–If your student is a like-minded Believer, this is a wonderful way to welcome God’s presence to your time of learning together about the wonderful gift of music that He has given us. Thank Him for their talent, hard work, and for who they are. Thank Him for music. Ask Him to¬†bless your teaching and their learning.

2) Encourage your student–Even if it’s something small, try to encourage them often¬†that they’re improving. Pay attention to their hard work, and thank them for it.

3) Have a good attitude–Are you excited about teaching them? If you aren’t, they can probably tell. If they feel like your just “filling your 30 minute slot” with them, then they likely won’t pick up the excitement to learn with you. Make them feel appreciated and be positive.

4) Be humble–If you don’t have an answer to one of their questions, admit it, and then research it to share next time. Share stories from your past about certain songs/aspects of learning that you struggled with. Be down-to-earth, and¬†connect on their level.

What are some teaching tips¬†that you’ve¬†discovered¬†that have helped you?

Setting Goals in Piano Teaching


Like most things¬†in life, it’s important to know our goals.

Goals for Students

  • Draw out the talent God has given them
  • Learn how to read music
  • Learn how to compose music (if desired)
  • Discover their preferred musical style and encourage them in their desired goals
  • Give them a foundation that can be helpful in learning another instrument in the future

These are my goals for students, but I also ask them what their goals are.

Sometimes¬†they don’t know what their goals are, but we can help them find them. Pay attention to the songs that they “click” with, and help direct them on their¬†journey as a musician.

Sometimes they do have a vision. Perhaps it’s to lead others in worship,¬†play songs by¬†one of their favorite artists, compose their own music, or play the great classics.

What are your goals for students?

What are your students goals?

Let’s not forget our goals and¬†theirs, so that we strive to be the¬†best teachers we can be.