๐Ÿ’กAha Moments - The Principle Goal of a Piano Teacher

"A teacher's purpose is not to create students in his own image, but to develop students who can create their own image.” - Anonymous

"A teacher's purpose is not to create students in his own image, but to develop students who can create their own image.” 
- Anonymous

My goal as a piano teacher is to teach myself out of a job. 

Sounds strange, right?

I love my students and I love piano teaching, but I want my students to continue playing the piano even after they discontinue lessons. I want them to move beyond my knowledge. I want them to explore the many, many musical topics. 

How does a piano teacher accomplish this? 

The Principle Goal of a Piano Teacher

"The principle goal of education is to create men and women who are capable of doing new things, not simply repeating what other generations have done.” 
- Jean Piaget

In her book, The Independent Piano Teacher's Studio Handbook, Beth Klingenstein explains that showing and not teaching creates a dependency on the teacher for every piece they will ever learn. She says, "Ultimately, such dependency means the last piece the student is taught will be the last piece played with accuracy" (156). 

Following this claim, she details many skills piano teacher's must teach their students in order to create independent musicians. 

The topics include how to teach:
  • Practicing
  • Memorizing
  • Performing
  • Timing and Rhythm
  • Technique
  • Sight-Playing
  • Fingering
  • Pedaling
  • Developing the Ear
Wow, what a list! When we shift to this mindset, however difficult, we benefit our students for a lifetime.

Pieces provide a vehicle with which to teach skills, but the end goal is not the pieces themselves, but the ability to learn more and more. Klingenstein goes on to say that pieces are learned faster and more pieces are able to be learned by a student who can effectively train themselves.  

“The greatest sign of success for a teacher . . . is to be able to say, ‘The children are now working as if I did not exist.’” 
- Maria Montessori

As I continue to build this blog, my hope is to chronicle my journey learning to teach these and to provide helpful resources and tips for other teachers to in turn cultivate lifelong learners of music. That is the principle goal of a piano teacher.

What are some quotes that have helped you as a teacher? What is your personal response to this post? What are some anecdotes you have about putting this into practice as a teacher? Let me know in the comments! 


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