Piano Teacher Bogeyman 2


I was at a housewarming party this evening. Somewhat introverted by nature, this was the first social gathering I'd been at in a few weeks where all of the other people were complete strangers. So it was a healthy reminder of someone's reaction when they find out I'm a piano teacher. This reaction has three stages: 

First: "Wow that's cool, how interesting."

Next "I took lessons as a kid, but didn't have much talent."

Finally: "My teacher was mean, made me feel worthless and cry. I was forced into lessons and it was traumatic, and now I'm scarred for life because of piano teachers like you."

OK maybe people don't go that far with the last part, but you'd be surprised how close this is to the truth. 

So first of all I'm going to be extra positive and nice in my teaching tomorrow. (I think I'm a pretty nice teacher in the first place…right students?) 

But this story also points to a common predicament: Children often don't come to enjoy the piano until they're in their teens. The problem is, if they haven't been practicing consistently for years at this point, it's too late for them to reach their full potential. Parents and teachers run into this problem all the time. I have my own thoughts on it, which I'll detail in the next post, but I'm curious to hear your take as well.

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2 thoughts on “Piano Teacher Bogeyman

  • Matt

    I’ve actually known a good number of people who have started a bit later in life and gone very far with the piano, so you’re right, 10-11 isn’t always out of the question. In fact if you look around enough you can even find some concert artists who didn’t start until they were around 10 — but my guess is that these were exceptional talents.
    And, yes *definitely* parents have to be involved at a younger age, you’re totally right.

  • Sam P

    Heh. In my experience it’s been female teachers that do ‘scarring’ best. And to female pupils! My teacher was female but as a male she loved me of course. Not so much my sister.
    Yes, you do need to start young to get the best results. Though 10-11 may not be too late. But it’s not reasonable to expect self-motivation from younger children so the parents have to drive the progress a bit. So the parents have to ask themselves whether they’re prepared to do that, and by what means.