I have been offering piano lessons to teenagers for quite some time now. Most of the teenagers I come across express little to no interest at all towards learning on how to play the instrument. However, in most cases at least for me, this stage is short-lived. From the many years, I have spent teaching teenagers on how to play the piano, I’ve come to learn the secret that will help them get motivated to learn the piano. The primary secret is connecting with your teen students in a way that will make them feel valued and understood.
It’s quite a simple concept, but for a majority of these teens, it feels like a foreign concept to them. At a time when many adults have dismissed them for simply being difficult or “going through a stage,” you can offer a leaning shoulder to them and give them a gift that will help them go through the difficult teen stage. You can offer them the gift of music in their lives.
Simple ideas you can use as a teacher to connect with teens
- Show Them That You Understand Their Musical World
Do a background research and find out what teens really like. Choose a recent piece that is currently playing on the radio for them to try out. They will be happy that you knew acknowledged the type of music they can relate to. Also, use a cool language that will make the teens feel like you really do understand their world.
- Find Unique and Relevant Performance Opportunities for Them
In most cases, teens will not be motivated to perform in traditional concerts. Find a performance opportunity for them that they will look up to.
- Praise Them but Be Genuine
Constantly motivate your teenage students by constantly praising them. However, make sure that you are genuine with your praises since teenagers can easily notice when you are faking it.
- Choose Repertoire for Them That Gives Them Instant Gratification and Coolness Factor
Instant gratification- most teens especially the difficult ones don’t have the attention span to work for a piece that goes for weeks. Coolness factor- If the teens can play something to their friends that are impressive, you will be helping them develop an identity as a musician.
- Understand That Friendships are Among Their Top Priority
At this point in life, teenagers feel like friendship is their number one priority. They may choose to attend practice sessions on a regular basis or they may not. If you play the heavy, they will always choose friends rather than practice, and you risk losing your students. However, if you implement the four ideas we’ve discussed above, they will attend practice in large numbers. At this stage, teenagers are at a time in their lives when they only do what they feel most passionate about.
Teaching teenagers how to play piano is not always an easy task. However, it’s worth it for both of you to put in some extra effort; the benefits are far-reaching. Teenagers have two things that they do perfectly well: talk and show off. If there are able to show off their piano playing skills and they are talking about it, then you will have helped them reap the rewards.
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