Let Students Make Mistakes



After teaching piano for about 5 months now, I feel that I found my signature teaching style.

I modeled it from my favorite college professor’s teaching apporach. She taught Turkish to a small class which gave each student more room to learn and practice. She was like a friend and a role model for me as a teacher.

She would let us discover for ourselves what was wrong before she corrected us. I would correct my own grammar before she would identify the mistake. A few words to describe the teaching style was: supportive, encouraging, passionate, and positive. She gave us a lot of space to explore the language, different topics, and make mistakes. After taking that langauge class, I feel that I was learning how to teach instead!

Like that class, I let my students make mistakes, and I give them time to figure out their problem spots before I say anything.

If they are lost, I give them more guidance. But if I know they can figure out a passage, I let them use their brains.

Some students are more difficult.. they say “piano’s boring” “I miss my old teacher” “how many more minutes?” …*ouch* and even bang on the piano *more ouch*

Sometimes it makes my heart sad when they say they don’t like piano, but I remember I hated learning piano too. I would cry and lay on the piano bench in frustration. That’s the curse of the perfectionist. Getting to the point where you can play what you want and have fun takes years.

It’s hard when I have to discipline kids instead of teaching them. I’m not here to discipline kids, just to teach piano.

Anyway, I am so proud of my students so far. Fortunately most of them like playing and learning. Every week I see improvements in their playing. They get better at reading music, making it easier for me to explain things. I get to teach more in depth concepts about piano like how your finger can create different sounds with different approaches to the keys.

Overally, my teaching style is supportive and encourages discovery. I chip in when necessary, or when a student is unaware of their mistakes. I give suggestions, but it’s important to let the student discover music themselves. I want them to get to a point where they don’t need a teacher. The key is to read music, understand the mood, and convey it in their own way.


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