What Kind of Piano Teacher am I?

Take the Quiz below


In my last blog post “Still Trying to Please Everyone? Stop it! You Can’t” I describe an incident with the parent of a prospective student. This particular parent questioned how and why I teach the way I do. This got me to thinking, why do I teach scales and arpeggios after my students have learned to read music? Should I include more technique? Are my music theory books good enough? Am I strict enough? I find my self-asking myself, “What kind of piano teacher are you anyway?”

Something New Every Week

It seems as though every week I come across some new teaching idea. Some way of doing things I hadn’t thought of before. Just last Friday I went to a lecture on piano technique given by Nancy Bachus, whoa!! I thought I knew a lot about piano technique. After hearing her, I think to myself there’s definitely room for me to up my game on that front. I wonder what else I can improve.

Then there’s Facebook. So many cool things, great music, and awesome opinions. It literally makes my head spin (OK not literally). But it can be overwhelming, and at times I find myself questioning my teaching. What kind of piano teacher am I anyway?

What Kind of Piano Teacher am I?


I had never thought about what “kind” of teacher I am until recently. I know what I teach and I have worked hard to come up with a successful teaching plan. I try to continuously educate myself so I can learn and grow as a teacher. I love my students and I hope that I am motivating them and helping them reach their goals. But what kind of teacher am I? What kind of piano teacher are you?


Why I Want to Know


One thing is sure. Piano teachers are like snowflakes, you know, no two are exactly the same. I want to explore who I am as a piano teacher for three reasons;

  1. Being able to explain to my students and their parents why I teach the way I do will help them understand that my methods are well thought out.
  2. Knowing my teaching strategy will give me the confidence I need to do my job well.
  3. What gets measured gets improved. Taking a close look at my teaching will help me to see areas where I need to shift gears or make changes.

What kind of teachers are we? Here’s a little quiz I came up with for myself. You can take it too. There are no right or wrong answers. This isn’t a “find your inner teaching animal type quiz” This is simply designed to help clarify your piano teaching style and pedagogical choices.

Have fun. Answer the questions and ask yourself why you chose the answer you did, or fill in your own answers. I know you are already an awesome piano teacher! After all, you are taking time to read this post 🙂


What Kind of Piano Teacher Are You? Quiz


1) I consider my teaching style to be,

a – No nonsense. I let my students know what I want them to do and I expect them to do it

b – Firm but friendly. I want my students to work hard and I let them know but I make lessons fun no matter what

c – Easy going. I do my best, but I can’t make my students practice. If they are unprepared I take it in stride


2) My basic personality is,

a – Reserved

b – Serious

c – Outgoing

d – Funny


3) I like to,

a – Have my lessons planned out in advance

b – Have a loose plan but adjust as needed


4) I think it is most important to,

a – Develop a teaching plan based on my expertise and experience.

b – Develop a teaching plan based on each student’s individual goals.

c – A combination of the above


5) My ideal age to start a beginner is,

a – 3-4

b – 5-7

c – 7 and up


6) I feel comfortable teaching, (check all that apply)

a – Preschoolers

b – Beginners

c – Intermediate Students

d – Advanced/College Prep

e – Adults

f – Special needs students.



7) I prefer parents to be

a – In the lesson with their child

b – Outside of the lesson area

c – Depends on the child’s age and how they respond to the parent


8) I think that practicing should be

a – Supervised by parents for all students.

b – Supervised by parents of only the youngest students

C – The responsibility of the student


9) When teaching beginners I use

a – One method book series

b – More than one method book series

c – A combination of music and supplemental materials


10) I teach scales and arpeggios

a – Right from the start

b – After the student gets some experience with the basics of note-reading

c – I don’t teach scales and arpeggios


11) I teach mainly

a – Classical Music

b – Jazz and Popular Music

c – A combination of the above


12) To me, a highly successful student can (choose one)

a – Play a difficult classical piece accurately and musically

b – Sight read well

c – Improvise and play by ear


13) I teach Music Theory

a – Using a Music Theory book/books

b – As it comes up during the lesson

c – During group lessons or at a separate lesson

d – I do not teach Music Theory


14) My recital policy is,

a – All students should participate in periodic studio recitals

b – Recitals should be optional for students

c – I do not hold studio recitals


15) My feelings about festivals and competitions are,

a – All students should participate in festivals wherever possible.

B – Participation in festivals should be optional

c – My students do not participate in festivals and competitions


16) When choosing repertoire,

a – I have a set sequence of pieces I use with every student

b – I choose pieces based on each individual student’s preferences

c – A combination of the above.


17) When it comes to using technology in the studio

a – I use applications and computer-based learning wherever possible

b – I use some programs and apps

c – I do not use much technology in the studio


18) I think that Hannon Exercises are,

a – Excellent and should be studied by everyone

b – Good for some students who need to focus on technique

c – A complete waste of time


19) I think that technique, in general, should be taught

a – Using the major piano repertoire

b – As a separate skill using technical exercises and etudes


So what were your results?

Go back and see which things you’ve checked. Do they reflect the way you see yourself as a teacher?

The truth is there are no right or wrong answers. However, you can use these answers to craft your own studio policy or mission statement.


I hope you enjoyed taking this little quiz. I enjoyed writing out the questions and answering them myself. I feel a bit more confident now. I know what kind of piano teacher I am and I also have a better idea of what kind of teacher I want to become.


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