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4 Essential Piano Teaching Tools Everyone Needs in Their Studio

By Tim Topham | Creativity

Jun 10

Piano Teaching Tools

These are four piano teaching tools every teacher needs to have in their piano studio.

Some of these are obvious, and others maybe not, but I truly believe these four items just cannot be missing from your studio.

Of course, there are many other tools and items you should have in your studio to have ultimate teaching success, but these piano teaching tools are a great start.

Okay, let’s get stuck in with the first, and most needed, piano teaching tool!

1. A piano and a stool

Well this one is a no brainer isn’t it!?

In all seriousness, having a good acoustic, digital or hybrid piano is essential for any home studio.

I’m lucky that I can do my teaching on a combination of pianos – I use a Kawhi acoustic piano, a Roland digital and a Casio Hybrid.

I would definitely recommend you buy a piano that suits you and your studio.

Not all teachers can afford the space or the cost of an acoustic grand piano, so an upright piano is a great option.

But don’t be put off by a good digital piano or a hybrid piano.

These days, hybrid pianos can replicate the touch, feel and sound of an acoustic upright piano.

Plus, the technological features can be a real bonus for you but also your students.

We know using technology with teenagers now is a great way to engage students, and hybrid pianos can come with a lot of cool features, without sacrificing an authentic piano learning experience.

Digital pianos don’t replicate the touch of a real piano as well as the more expensive hybrid options, but if you are starting out as a teacher and need to save some money, a good Roland digital piano could do the job.

2. A curriculum

There’s lots of different approaches you could take here.

You could find a method book series that suits your approach to piano teaching and follow those.

But having a method book isn’t all you need for a curriculum.

A curriculum is a holistic approach to everything you teach your students. The only way to work out what you should be teaching is what you want your students to achieve by the end of their lessons.

Check out some of my other resources about how to set your teaching goals, finding your ideal student, and then work backwards to find out the best curriculum.

4 Chord Composing, 12 Bar Blues and No Book Beginners are my resources that I provide to teachers in the Inner Circle to help them set a great curriculum.

I want my students once they’ve finished lessons with me to be able to read music but also be able to play in a jazz band, accompany a singer, improvise and play chords.

That’s where my resources come in.

3. A circle of fifths

I carry this with me everywhere I go, it’s on all of my pianos and it’s almost the most important tool I have (after my piano!).

I use this in every lesson with every student.

By referring back to the circle of fifths, it helps students to get a really deep understanding of the music they are learning through harmony and chords.

Circle of fifths

I carry the Circle of Fifths with me everywhere.

Students learn to make connections with the music they are reading and the music they are listening to – so the music of the past but also the present.

The circle of fifths also let’s you create amazing sounding pieces of music.

I use an app for this as well called the Circle of Fifths, so you don’t always have to carry around a piece of paper.

4. An iPad

My last tool is an iPad.

You can be a successful piano teacher without technology, there’s no doubt about that.

But I do believe you can be a better teacher with an iPad.

It’s such an amazing tool, you can see my GarageBand course for some information on how I use it.

It can carry musical games on it, it can be a metronome and it can carry ALL of your sheet music. How much space would that save you!?

If you’re a travelling teacher, having an iPad is even more important.

Check out how Rosemary Penner uses an iPad as part of her travelling music lab studio – it will change your outlook on iPad technology.

Conclusion

What piano teaching tools can you not live without?

Let me know below and don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel for more great videos.

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About the Author

Tim Topham has one mission in life: to stem the tide of children quitting music lessons by helping teachers maximise student engagement through creativity, technology and innovation. Tim hosts the popular Creative Piano Teaching Podcast, blogs regularly at timtopham.com and speaks at local and international conferences on topics such as pedagogy, business, marketing and entrepreneurship. Tim has been featured in American Music Teacher, The Piano Teacher Magazine, Californian Music Teacher and EPTA Piano Professional. Tim holds an MBA in Educational Leadership, BMus, DipEd and AMusA.