Help! (Teaching Theory) : LUSENET : Everything About Teaching and Learning the Piano : One Thread


I'm a piano teacher by... accident. I didn't, and don't, have any intention to be a teacher but I have two 2 students who I have taught for the past two years nevertheless. They started with me at the age of 5 and 7. I think I've done a decent job teaching them how to play piano. They can now play several selections from Bach's "Notebook For Anna Magdalena", Schumann's op. 68, "Album for the Young", Burgmuller's op. 100 and so on. Since I don't teach professionally, and I don't use any of the published method books, I do have two questions:

1. Do you consider their progress reasonable, compared to your "typical" students?

2. What should I teach them about theory? So far I've focused on the technique and artistry part, but I haven't done much in the theory area. Of course, they've learned really teh basics such as note values, key/time signatures, major scales, triads (major and minor), intervals...

I would appreciate if you teachers could give me some pointers.

-- Laura (, August 13, 2002


That they can play such literature after two years of study is wonderful, but more than a concern for theory is that of reading. They can play this literature, but can they read it easily? If not, then you would be doing them a huge disservice by not ensuring adequate reading skills so they can learn music independently.

If they do read well, then you can look at several options for theory. One would be to see what your state/local MTA offers in a syllabus program. You have to be member, but you would also have a lot of helpful resources.

There are also theory courses available at your local music store. My favorite is Fundamentals of Piano Theory by Snell and Ashleigh. It is well graded, has opportunities for review and is easy for students to follow.

-- Arlene Steffen (, August 14, 2002.


Thanks for your response. My "kids" sight read fairly well -- that is to the materials lower than their current level of playing. I don't teach them by rote at all. I used to play the songs I assigned to them at the assignment time, but I don't any more. Now I play for them only when they're ready to play for me. That way they can learn something about artistry and figure out the songs by themselves in the meantime. I'm not sure this is the better way, but it was the way my teacher taught me.

I'll look into the book. Thanks again.

-- Laura (, August 14, 2002.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ