From the outside, people might think that not much goes into planning piano lessons. Surely it's just a case of...
- Warming up with scales
- Listening to what was practised during the week
- Working on new pieces
- Reviewing and wrapping up
True, some music lessons do look like that. But they can be so much more!
Putting care into planning your music lessons means you can make them more creative and more efficient. And we have plenty of resources right here to make the planning process painless and effective.
If you're running out of time in your lessons, you may need to change your planning strategy. These posts will help you refine your tactics.
PARTNER LESSONS and BUDDY LESSONS
One of the best ways to improve your income potential and make your studio more collaborative is to bring in buddy or partner lessons. These articles will help you make that switch.
Group workshops can be a fantastic opportunity to bring your students together. Get some ideas for what to do and how to organise them in these posts.
Taking on teens and adults is a whole other ballgame. Here, you can find out how to plan effective lessons for older students.
REPERTOIRE AND RESOURCES
Curious about how to teach pop music? Or why you would want to incorporate rote teaching? Read about repertoire and other resources in these articles.
SPECIAL NEEDS STUDENTS
All students should be able to access music education, but it can tricky for teachers to make their music studios inclusive when they don’t have specialist training. Get some tips here to get started.
Technology is not about shiny gadgets and wonderful wizardry. The most important thing about using iPads, phones and computers in your studio is that you put them to work – and these articles will help you do just that.
Does planning piano lessons really make sense?
When the topic of lesson planning comes up, many teachers will protest that it just doesn't make sense to plan piano lessons because we need to adjust depending on what the student has practised that week.
I'm sorry, but I just don't buy that.
There's so much more that should go into great music teaching than simply listening to assigned pieces, correcting them and assigning new ones. We must be more than just a feedback machine.
Sure, your lesson planning process shouldn't look like that of a classroom teacher. That isn't realistic and it wouldn't be effective.
But you need to have some sort of process. You need time to reflect on what the student needs, where they are on their musical journey, and where you want to guide them to next.
What if I don't have time for planning piano lessons?
If you feel like you can't possibly fit in the time each week for a planning session, then you're not alone. I hear from teachers with this problem all the time.
The issue, however, has nothing to do with your lesson planning process. It won't help if you streamline it, digitalise it or find a new style of binder to use.
The problem, almost always, is that your business isn't efficient. If that's the case for you then check out my business hub page.
What if I do just fine being spontaneous?
Some teachers insist that they're natural "by-the-seat-of-their-pants-ers". They do better coming up with ideas on the fly and they're just not "planning people."
Is that you?
It's a tempting argument to make. I get why you're saying it...
But are you sure you're being honest with yourself?
I probably would have said the same thing 10 or more years ago. But the truth is (at least for me) I'm a better teacher when I put the effort in and have a plan for my lessons.
No, I can't plan out each minute-by-minute detail. And yes, sometimes the plan gets thrown out the window during the lesson. But that doesn't mean it's not a worthwhile process.
Just try it for a full semester/term before you dismiss the idea of lesson planning for good. I think you might be converted.