Music Excellence Is Not Always A Positive Music Lesson

Does A Positive Music Lesson Have To Be Excellent?

Recently during a seminar I was offering on positive teaching methods, I was challenged by a very well trained and passionate piano teacher about the idea of teaching positive music lessons. After I gave notes, ideas, and examples of practical applications on how to positively reinforce the actions of a music student during a private lesson the young music teacher stood up.

Positive Music Lessons
Teach Excellence, Be Positive

“All these positive music lesson ideas would work fine if a student is practicing, but I’m not going to sit there and lie to a student who didn’t do anything and tell him he did a good job” he said.

I reminded him politely that I hadn’t asked anyone to lie but I did ask all the teachers to consider being positive even if a student hadn’t practice the week before. I asked the teacher if a positive music lesson experience had to be based on excellence.

The young man told me “I’m not going to reward or be positive with a student who didn’t practice” to which I knew the idea needed further explanation and I was happy for his comments because maybe I didn’t present my topic in a clear enough light for everyone at the seminar to understand.


Step 1, Find Something To Be Positive About


Positive Music Lesson
Positive Comments Go A Long Way

Of course you can’t be positive about practicing when a student hasn’t done it but you can have a positive music lesson in my opinion. In our school of music, Lessons In Your Home, we believe there are two broad possible actions to take to hopefully encourage a student to practice, which of course is our second goal (the first is to teach a student to play music). We default to the second option listed below.

Action No1 – show disappointment that a student hasn’t practice in such a way that the student will be compelled to better prepare for their next lesson in hopes of getting a positive reaction from their teacher.

Action No2 – find something, no matter how small in a lesson to tell a student she does that well in hopes of repeating the action over and over again so that a student wants to do what they do well over and over again to get more positive reaction from their teacher.


Excellence Wasn’t Built In A Day

Piano Lessons
Have A Good Attitude

Excellent musicians sometimes have a hard time remembering when they weren’t so excellent, they most likely still had a positive music lesson. I love how they hold what they’ve achieved in high regards and they should but they need to have a proper perception of how excellence is obtained. Excellence is obtained by a continued pursuit of something you love to do. Better yet, they should implement a plan to teach excellence since after all we’re not being paid for our excellence as private music lesson teachers. We are being paid to have a plan on how to share what we know about playing our instrument so that our student can play too.

2 thoughts on “Music Excellence Is Not Always A Positive Music Lesson

  1. Music teachers need to understand that there are times when practicing just is not possible. This can be caused by everything from other demands on a students time (particularly schoolwork) to sickness of the student or a family member. When a student is busy and stressed, it is particularly important for music teachers to be positive and motivational. Emphasizing the use of music as a stress reliever or distraction is one possible approach.

  2. I completely agree that positivity is important in music lessons. Growing up I had several different piano teachers. The one that I liked best wasn’t the one who drilled me on practice, but the one who found the small improvements I made even without practicing outside of lessons. I hope to find a positive teacher and musical influence for my children someday.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *