Top Ten Qualities of a Diligent Piano Teacher


by Jenny Simaile
Goonellabah, New South Wales, Australia


ach teacher will have an individual style and approach that "works for them." However, I think there are some qualities that all good teachers possess, in addition to unlimited patience. This Top Ten list gives those for the benefit of students, teachers and parents. If I've missed some you think are important, let me know!




  1. Approachable.  A happy person who demonstrates a sense of humour along with an empathetic sense of humanity is capable of putting people at ease, and, in return, can create an atmosphere where mutual communication can flow.
  2. Organised.  This projects a sense of professionalism when a prospective student (or parent) is given clear options of lesson times.  It helps create confidence in your service.  Your answering machine message should also reflect a person ‘in control’ of their business.  Remember to include the name of your studio on your message, even if you use the same line for personal calls. Keep your teaching tools in the same place all the time, so you know where they are.  Work closely with a calendar so you can plan events in a calm, ‘no rush’ manner.
  3. Motivating.  Psychology is useful in any profession when dealing so directly with people.  Understanding the different ways people learn, reason and communicate is vital when helping them reach their fullest potential. Positive reinforcement is a much stronger motivator than negative condemnation. A diligent piano teacher will have an array of strategies for motivating their students to practise, listen, express, and create.
  4. Inventive.   Games, illustrations, analogies, exercises, and demonstrations all need some consideration for individual students. An active mind not only learns better, but information is stored in the brain systematically, which makes retrieval easier!  Emotion impacts much more strongly than cold facts.  An inventive piano teacher is able to evoke an emotional response from a cold fact, which will then impact greatly on the student and can add to their growing knowledge.
  5. Knowledgeable.  It is unreasonable to expect any human being to know everything about a subject—even if they make a living out of it.  However, it is impossible to teach something one does not ‘know’.  As well as accumulated knowledge, a researched teacher will know how to access information, as well as communicate it.
  6. Honest.  Generally, people, especially adults, seek out a piano teacher for genuine help, guidance, and advice - not flattery.   Honesty however, does not mean being rude.  A teacher needs to employ some aspect of diplomacy, as people deserve  respect.  It may be true that a child does not have a musical bone in her body.  A diligent teacher will find a way to express this concern without causing undue offense.
  7. Devoted.   A  dedicated teacher is one who thinks personally about each member in their studio and feels committed to finding and developing each student’s abilities, talents, and passions.
  8. Responsible.  An effective teacher/student relationship is based on trust; a diligent piano teacher must demonstrate at all times their worthiness of this trust.  Punctuality, dependability, concern for physical safety and personal growth are qualities all piano teachers must strive for.
  9. Communicating.  One may be a brilliant performer with a huge amount of personal talent or accumulated knowledge, and be of no benefit at all to a student if they cannot convey concepts in a manner students can use.  Adapting presentations to each individual student is an invaluable skill when teaching.  A piano teacher must be able to convey thoughts and concepts to young children, teenagers, adults, males, females, people of fortune and people of moderate means.
  10. Loving. There is nothing more contagious than a person’s warm enthusiasm. A diligent and effective teacher is one who openly has and demonstrates an infectious love for music, a love for the piano, and can share that because they have a love for people.
Page created: 7/7/04
Last updated: 01/30/15
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Reprinting from the Piano Education Page The Piano Education Page, Op. 10, No. 1,
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