Learning the piano takes a lot of patience, but nonetheless piano lessons should should be interesting for a student. There are ways to help students who seem bored or apathetic towards piano lessons.
Certain piano students get excited about all sorts of pieces but others have less motivation. I find that to increase motivation it helps students to play songs which have words associated to them. They do not necessarily need to be well-known songs. If there’s a story to go along with a composition students may enjoy playing it better than practicing a piece that only has notes on the page. Some examples are songs with information about a composer (the Faber series has songs like this) or songs talking about animals. These can be a remarkable help when a student seems apathetic towards playing the piano.
As a teacher I am more fully learning that I should be interested in the class and paying attention myself. Sometimes I wonder why a student is lagging behind and then I realize that if I stop writing or looking ahead in another music book that the student will probably pay better attention! With some students it helps to sit close to the keyboard and to show them that I am paying attention to their playing from up close, particularly for young students. Encourage as much playing as possible during lessons. Students will ultimately enjoy it better than wishing lesson time away.
Making sure that students understand their assignments is so important. Sometimes a student may dislike a song simply because they don’t know how to read the notes, are confused about the fingering, etc.. Their frustration may seem like apathy and boredom but they may just be confused and needing help. Taking time to fix these problems means not simply giving students an answer but also eliciting the “why” of their answer. It’s very encouraging to see students go from guessing, to comprehending, to progressing and ultimately to enjoying their pieces better.
Teachers can help their students enjoy lessons better by finding pedagogical yet fun songs to teach. It may mean skipping ahead a few songs in the method book and finding something that a student likes. The students’ choices might be surprising! No matter what pieces the student ends up enjoying, review and ask many comprehension questions to prepare students for their next pieces. Parents have a lot to do with a child’s attitude and those who teach that life is a mixture of exciting and mundane moments will prepare their children to become better pianists. Although it’s appropriate to find interesting songs for students, piano pupils should remember that who will shine most brightly are those who are diligent even when they don’t feel like practicing or paying attention.