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#2153023 - 09/18/13 02:05 PM Your Lesson Structure?
eccp19 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/10/02
Posts: 74
Loc: United States
Since I never watch other teacher's teach, I was wondering if

1) You all could tell me generally how a normal lesson usually goes.

Mine is usually:

Greetings
Run through technique
Run through repertoire and talk about things to fix
Select new pieces
Run through new pieces
Do Theory together if there is time

Does that pretty much conclude what most lessons are going to be like?

And

2) How to gauge if the student has practiced enough and what kinds of things to say if it is concluded that the student has been slacking.

Thanks!


Edited by eccp19 (09/18/13 02:05 PM)

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#2153034 - 09/18/13 02:36 PM Re: Your Lesson Structure? [Re: eccp19]
rada Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/07/06
Posts: 1124
Loc: pagosa springs,co
My goal is for the lesson to be more playing and less talking.....and really the more the student has practiced the more they will and can play.....few words...don't like to use up precious playing time.

rada

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#2153350 - 09/18/13 10:06 PM Re: Your Lesson Structure? [Re: eccp19]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 10798
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: eccp19
Since I never watch other teacher's teach, I was wondering if

1) You all could tell me generally how a normal lesson usually goes.

Mine is usually:

Greetings
Run through technique
Run through repertoire and talk about things to fix
Select new pieces
Run through new pieces
Do Theory together if there is time

Does that pretty much conclude what most lessons are going to be like?
this is it if the student hasn't really practiced, minus the select new pieces/run through part. "Running through" in this instance involves analyzing a piece, writing in the counting, and then sight reading it, discuss any issues that arise and try again. In essence, a monitored practice session.

If the student has practiced, then I generally will do the scales as a warm-up, and then ask them what gave them the most trouble this week in their practice. Then we go straight to that section and try to figure it out, discuss practice techniques and try applying them. Then move on to the next difficult section. Sometimes I'll ask them to "run through" a piece, but only if it's in its finishing stages.

Quote:


2) How to gauge if the student has practiced enough and what kinds of things to say if it is concluded that the student has been slacking.

Thanks!
If there's progress, they've practiced enough. This is something I just know after some time. You get to know what a student can do on a good week, and then you can gauge their practice effectiveness. Actually, I dislike saying "practiced enough" because that implies time rather than quality. If a student can accomplish certain tasks within a short amount of practice time, all the better.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#2153462 - 09/19/13 02:35 AM Re: Your Lesson Structure? [Re: eccp19]
AZNpiano Online   sleepy
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5284
Loc: Orange County, CA
I don't have any lesson structure. My students will never get two lessons that are structured exactly the same. I do a combination of:

Repertoire
Technique
Ear Training
Sight Reading
Music History
Music Theory

And I would toss in any random facts or stories that fit the situation. I do digress a lot. I have some students who are very bad at math, so sometimes our piano lesson turns into a math tutoring session. You have to know how to add fractions if you want to learn to subdivide beats.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#2153619 - 09/19/13 09:55 AM Re: Your Lesson Structure? [Re: eccp19]
Derek Hartwell Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/03/09
Posts: 219
Loc: United Kingdom
Originally Posted By: eccp19
Since I never watch other teacher's teach, I was wondering if

1) You all could tell me generally how a normal lesson usually goes.

Mine is usually:

Greetings
Run through technique
Run through repertoire and talk about things to fix
Select new pieces
Run through new pieces
Do Theory together if there is time

Does that pretty much conclude what most lessons are going to be like?

And

2) How to gauge if the student has practiced enough and what kinds of things to say if it is concluded that the student has been slacking.

Thanks!


How long are your lessons ?
I could not possibly cover every item you enumerate in one lesson !
Listening to, correcting and improving scales sometimes might take up to half a lesson. Doing the same with a prepared piece might well take up the other half.
Try as I might to divide my lessons equally between piano playing and theory is almost always unsuccessful and I do have to spend a whole lesson occasionally on theory alone. So, although I have an ideal lesson structure in mind, it only rarely materialises. In any case, every pupil is an individual.
Their requirements are different and they each need a different approach or method.

rk
_________________________
Music Teacher (Piano/Theory/Musicianship)

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#2153631 - 09/19/13 10:09 AM Re: Your Lesson Structure? [Re: AZNpiano]
Derek Hartwell Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/03/09
Posts: 219
Loc: United Kingdom
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
I don't have any lesson structure. My students will never get two lessons that are structured exactly the same. I do a combination of:

Repertoire
Technique
Ear Training
Sight Reading
Music History
Music Theory

And I would toss in any random facts or stories that fit the situation. I do digress a lot. I have some students who are very bad at math, so sometimes our piano lesson turns into a math tutoring session. You have to know how to add fractions if you want to learn to subdivide beats.


I, too, include sight-reading (when there's time)as part of the piano playing section of the lesson. And music history,also, in relation to the composers and period in which they lived and composed. Ear training is difficult to fit in and sometimes I have to devote a whole lesson to aural work.
I can identify with your expression 'math tutoring session'.
Sometimes I feel I'm teaching a bit of maths (and I'm no mathematician!)in order to get a rhythm or break-down of a long note/tied notes, etc. right. Even students who are good at maths don't always find it easy to transfer it to musical notation and rhythm.

rk
_________________________
Music Teacher (Piano/Theory/Musicianship)

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#2155938 - 09/23/13 02:38 AM Re: Your Lesson Structure? [Re: eccp19]
Beth_Frances Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/14/12
Posts: 170
Loc: Brisbane, Australia
I often leave out aural, and theory gets done in a chump manner. I'm interested in this topic. How do you squeeze it all in, especially when you only have 30 minutes?

I'm thinking of trying something new - setting out theory exercises (whiteboards, cards, etc) ready for a kid to do so as soon as they walk in the door they start working on whatever I've set out before lessons start. Meanwhile I look over their theory assignment. I'd like EVERY lesson to start this way. The way things happen at the moment I get them playing something while I look at their theory homework, then stop them to get them to correct mistakes, then have to listen to whatever they were playing again. It's wasting time.

Sightreading can easily be incorporated into pieces (point out a bar with only skips, point out all the 4ths, name the notes in the treble clef in the first 4 bars etc), and with the 30 minutes only kids that's really the only way I can squoosh it in.

I don't really have a structure at all, but I need one! Too easy for the time to fly by and important things get left out week after week.
_________________________
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http://www.bookdepository.com/?a_aid=75318 (great range of piano music, with free shipping to 90 countries)

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#2156034 - 09/23/13 08:48 AM Re: Your Lesson Structure? [Re: eccp19]
pianist_lady Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/22/09
Posts: 6
Loc: Canada
Interesting topic.

I will usually let the student chose what to play first so that they feel comfortable at the start of the lesson. Indeed, many young students just hop on the bench and start playing before even saying hello, so I like to ride that enthusiasm rather than jump into my own agenda right away. New concepts & repertoire are introduced in the middle of the lesson, after we're in the groove but before attention starts to wander. Technique may be done at this time as well. For method book students I do the theory with what ever piece the book matches up with. Intermediate/advanced students do theory usually in the final third of the lesson. Theory may be done in the lesson on a bi-weekly basis, so that they have a week to complete the assignment and then I get a week to correct it and hand it back.

I will usually end the lesson working on one of the more familiar pieces from their assignment-- not new material. There is a limit to how long the human mind can focus, which means that the student's concentration is lower at the end of the lesson and I'd rather not burden them with anything new. Also, the end of the lesson is when the parent and/or next student will likely walk in, and I think it's better for everyone if the student is playing fluently & confidently!

One thing that I've been doing lately is to end the lesson with improvisation. I have been working through the ideas in the first "Pattern Play" book by Forrest Kinney, and the students seem to enjoy it.

While the content may change, I like the idea of having at least a basic structure which remains the same. One of the thing I enjoy when I go to Yoga class is that I don't have to think about what's going to happen next because there is a rhythm to the class that doesn't vary a whole lot. We may focus on different poses each week, but the class will begin and end the same way. I want my students present and focused on the music, not wondering what is going to happen next.

This is not to say that I won't deviate from my plan if circumstances demand it; I try to be sensitive to the student's needs and interests while keeping the overall goals in sight.

Anyway, this is a long reply, but I've thought a lot about this topic!
_________________________
Private piano teacher
B. Mus., M.Mus. (piano performance & pedagogy).

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#2156037 - 09/23/13 08:51 AM Re: Your Lesson Structure? [Re: pianist_lady]
Alan Lai Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/16/13
Posts: 309
Loc: USA/Hong Kong
Originally Posted By: pianist_lady
Interesting topic.

I will usually let the student chose what to play first so that they feel comfortable at the start of the lesson. Indeed, many young students just hop on the bench and start playing before even saying hello, so I like to ride that enthusiasm rather than jump into my own agenda right away. New concepts & repertoire are introduced in the middle of the lesson, after we're in the groove but before attention starts to wander. Technique may be done at this time as well. For method book students I do the theory with what ever piece the book matches up with. Intermediate/advanced students do theory usually in the final third of the lesson. Theory may be done in the lesson on a bi-weekly basis, so that they have a week to complete the assignment and then I get a week to correct it and hand it back.

I will usually end the lesson working on one of the more familiar pieces from their assignment-- not new material. There is a limit to how long the human mind can focus, which means that the student's concentration is lower at the end of the lesson and I'd rather not burden them with anything new. Also, the end of the lesson is when the parent and/or next student will likely walk in, and I think it's better for everyone if the student is playing fluently & confidently!

One thing that I've been doing lately is to end the lesson with improvisation. I have been working through the ideas in the first "Pattern Play" book by Forrest Kinney, and the students seem to enjoy it.

While the content may change, I like the idea of having at least a basic structure which remains the same. One of the thing I enjoy when I go to Yoga class is that I don't have to think about what's going to happen next because there is a rhythm to the class that doesn't vary a whole lot. We may focus on different poses each week, but the class will begin and end the same way. I want my students present and focused on the music, not wondering what is going to happen next.

This is not to say that I won't deviate from my plan if circumstances demand it; I try to be sensitive to the student's needs and interests while keeping the overall goals in sight.

Anyway, this is a long reply, but I've thought a lot about this topic!

My lesson structure is similar to yours surprisingly!

I have to admit I never did any improvisation works with my students, maybe it's because I don't know any improvisation so there is no way I can teach it.

I've been playing a lot of Kapustin lately and I should start learning improvisation.

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#2156499 - 09/23/13 10:01 PM Re: Your Lesson Structure? [Re: Alan Lai]
PApianoteacher Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/27/12
Posts: 36
I like to start with technique- A Dozen a Day, Finger Power, five finger patterns, or scales. While the student is playing through these, I check any homework that I assigned in the activity book from the prior week. I also check practice sheets, and then have them fill out star charts. I like this structure so that I can give the student my full attention when working on new material.

I like to alternate between the lesson book, theory, and supplemental material. I try to make it a point to work on something that is meaningful to the student- some are motivated by finishing lesson books, others by hymns, or popular music. Depending on the student, I may do this at the beginning of the lesson, or wait until the end after they have worked on regular lesson material.

My routine is ultimately determined by what motivates the student to learn!

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#2156514 - 09/23/13 11:02 PM Re: Your Lesson Structure? [Re: eccp19]
ezpiano.org Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/10/11
Posts: 967
Loc: Irvine, CA
1. Students pick what material they want to start with
2. New concepts/ repertoire/ technique
3. Theory/ but sometimes do it bi-weekly
4. End with something students are good at

Hi Pianist Lady!!

Am I correct in summarizing your lesson structure?
May I know if this is a 30 minutes lesson?
_________________________
http://ezpiano.org
Piano lessons in Irvine, CA
Watch the introduction video on YouTube
@ http://bit.ly/Ready123

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#2156692 - 09/24/13 08:08 AM Re: Your Lesson Structure? [Re: ezpiano.org]
pianist_lady Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/22/09
Posts: 6
Loc: Canada
Hi ezpiano.

Yes, this is more or less my lesson structure. I teach 30 min., 45 min. and one hour lessons.
_________________________
Private piano teacher
B. Mus., M.Mus. (piano performance & pedagogy).

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#2156928 - 09/24/13 04:30 PM Re: Your Lesson Structure? [Re: eccp19]
Minniemay Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/09
Posts: 1702
Loc: CA
Selecting new pieces at the lesson? Do you not prepare ahead of time what they will be learning? If not, how do you prepare them for new concepts/techniques?
_________________________
B.A., Piano, Piano Pegagogy, Music Ed.
M.M., Piano

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#2165811 - 10/13/13 09:36 PM Re: Your Lesson Structure? [Re: eccp19]
missbelle Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/24/12
Posts: 84
Loc: USA
I tend to have younger students, so some are still catching on to the concept of practicing-
playing something one time once or twice is NOT good practice!

Anyway, I tend to use warm-ups that go along with that week's concepts, so if they begin the next lesson with that technique, I can assess quickly how well/often they practiced.

I try to give theory worksheets and pages, because the school I teach at has instilled a good homework ethic. But then I get some kids that think only the "work book" pages is the work to do...lol

anyway,

I would enjoy more than 30 minutes, but consider it a good lesson if I a get a touch of technique, a review of old lesson, a pull/push onto a new lesson, a test on theory, and a bit of fun repertoire as encouragement.

I keep a binder with on-going notes for each student, and carve out at least one day to select new music, review work, prep for recital pieces, notes about whatever (Columbus Day off/no lessons) and have pockets to keep pages to give them.

If I know student Z is coming up on sharps and flats, I have additional pages or books to bring.

If student F is playing "Twinkle Twinkle" then I might have a short bio of Mozart for music history fun.

Post-it notes are my life!

I have twin boys with a mom that sits in on the back-to-back lessons, and yet each lesson is unique, no matter how much I try to keep it identical.
_________________________
Learning as I teach.

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#2167164 - 10/16/13 12:14 PM Re: Your Lesson Structure? [Re: eccp19]
Minniemay Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/09
Posts: 1702
Loc: CA
But why would you want the lessons to be identical? The children may look identical, but I assure you, they are different people.

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