I’ve taught piano lessons to both adults and children and decided to post a few similarities and differences that I’ve found.
Lessons with Children:
- Simple instructions! Rather than talking theoretically focus more on practical, easily achievable instructions such as, “please play middle C” or “please clap this rhythm.” use concrete analogies.
- Make lots of music playing time. Keep the talking minimum and kinesthetic action to a maximum.
- Teacher and parental decisions direct lessons. The parents are the ones paying for the lessons so follow their wishes as much as possible. Also, children need direction so the teacher must espeically guide young students.
- Play lots of music games! Make sure the games teach a musical concept but try to find fun ones as lesson fillers.
- Use an engaging method book. This varies according to a student’s age and ability. Find the one that works best for individual needs.
Lessons with Adults:
- Students make most decisions. As adults they are making a conscious decision to pay for and attend lessons so be attentive to their wishes.
- Allow for busy schedules. Most adults already have quite full lives so keep this in mind while teaching.
- Explain the “why.” Adults tend to want to learn theory. They need to play a lot as well but making connections between theory and application will help them as they study.
- Be patient if student is shy to play. Sometimes adults only want to play some pieces during their lessons and learn other ones at home so if this is the case just focus on helping them become better self learners.
- Use recognizable songs. While children enjoy this as well, adults especially like playing songs they’ve heard before.
Lessons with Students of any Age:
- Teach both children and adults to enjoy music. If they don’t enjoy what they are playing they will not make much progress.
- Play quality music. Make sure the repertoire they are learning is teaching them things that they need to learn when they come across other new pieces. Be systematic in teaching and try to not leave any learning gaps. Don’t just focus on sight-reading to the neglect of rhythm, etc.
- Use the whole lesson time. Make the whole lesson count.
These are just a few similarities and differences to keep in mind. Hope you’ve found them helpful.