Music lessons and the individual learner

Teach the student first, the music second and the piano third

Frances Clark

At first glance you might look at this quote and think, ‘hang on, my job is to teach the piano, so why is it not top of the list?!’. But actually it highlights the importance of thinking about the individual when teaching.

No two students who have walked through my music room door have been the same. There have been fast learners and those who need to take a little longer, differing ages from the very young to retired adults, students with learning needs including dyslexia or dyspraxia, and a wide range of different levels of talent, enthusiasm and musicality.

It’s for this reason I have a big selection of piano tutor books to choose from, for example. If every student was the same perhaps I would only need one book. But each caters for different learning styles, needs, age ranges and more.

I wouldn’t get very far if I tried to use a book aimed at very young children with an older learner or adult! Similarly, some students get on well with tutor books that move at a fairly fast pace whereas others prefer something at a slower pace where each concept is perhaps more thoroughly explored.

Musical tastes and reasons for learning also play a part in the process. Some students are keen on keeping to a classical diet whereas others might like to explore pop, rock or jazz. Incorporating tunes into lessons that students are enthusiastic to learn can have a huge impact on motivation and progress.

These are just a few of the ways teachers can put the individual at the heart of learning. By understanding a student’s needs we can tailor our teaching to help them flourish as learners and reach their full potential. Personalised learning hopefully leads to higher engagement and a love of learning.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this quote.

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