One on one classes are difficult. You have to create a positive and familiar atmosphere in order to make the pupil feel comfortable. I’ve been teaching piano for 6 years now and more than 100 students have began their musical journeys with me, all preschoolers. My priority is to build a strong foundation of knowledge and to open their appetite for music.
CONVERSATION – Not in the technical teaching method way, but also personal and fun. From asking the kids about their day, to talking about the weather or about their lunch, I like to socialise with my pupils a lot. I need them to know I care about them, about their interests and I want to get to know them better and, of course, build a relationship.
LAUGHTER – We can start laughing about some rookie mistake, about this new joke we heard or about them being too sleepy on my piano class and the ridiculous idea of drinking coffee to wake up: Coffee is not for children, they start laughing uncontrollably.
NICKNAMES – Only best friends have nicknames for each other, that’s why I always try to find an endearing nickname for each one, whether it’s something that rhymes with the kid’s name or a cute feature of his.
STARS & HEARTS – I don’t like the sticker trend. I believe the thirst for knowledge should be far more important than the greed for stickers. But I also wanted to have a system through which we can quantify the best lessons. So I started drawing golden stars in their notebook each class they succeeded. And for every three golden stars, they get a drawing of a red heart. And even though they are used to stickers from other activities, they have a special appreciation for my stars, and would do anything to get one: they correct their hand and finger position, they start counting, they stop watching the keys and they focus better just to avoid mistakes. It’s the best!
So, we talk, we laugh, we learn, we make mistakes, we win, we are rewarded and sometimes we even cry…well, they cry. Mostly when they’re angry and frustrated over a hard passage, or they’re tired, or they want mommy…If your students never cry…you’re doing it wrong!