Dear Fellow Piano Teacher,

I’d like to share my 5 principles to boost students’ motivation to learn and practice piano!

“The change starts with you but it does not start until you do.”–Tom Ziglar

1. Be inspirational.

You have been teaching piano lessons for quite some time–you found your calling and care deeply about your students. 

You make a detailed weekly lesson plan and demand them to practice daily, right? Because that’s what a dedicated and caring teacher like you would do. 

Is it working? Do they respond well to your “you need to practice!” statement every time?

If it is, that’s fantastic. But I am guessing the majority of us struggle to convince students to practice diligently. 

Mo Ibrahim, a Sudanese-British businessman, says, “I think we need to look at ourselves first. We should practice what we’re preaching. Otherwise, we are hypocrites.”

Do you practice what you preach? Do YOU practice 🎹 regularly? Do you inspire students by demonstrating and showing your talent? Are you actively participating in performance opportunities as a soloist or collaborative pianist?

Don’t forget—students’ inspiration to practice piano comes from your presence as a pianist! 

2. Be influential

I hear this from my fellow teachers often:

“Where I live, all they talk about is football, and every kid in town is involved in the football team and practices almost every day. They seem not to have an interest or the time for learning a musical instrument. I feel like people are undermining the value of music education.” 

Do you relate to this statement👆? If so….

How can we, as music educators, change the culture or mindset in the community about music education? 

  • Are you actively involved in local events as a pianist or teacher? 
  • Do you regularly host students’ recitals, professional concerts, or other musical events in your area? 
  • Do you frequently give presentations at local organizations or schools about the topics related to music/piano?
  • How well are you known as an expert in your field in the community? 

As a piano teacher and pianist, you tend to stay in the piano studio all day long practicing and teaching, am I right? I don’t blame you–I can relate! BUT don’t get too cozy there. Instead, you should actively promote the beauty of music and the importance of music education by reaching out to the people in the community so that they see you as the authority in the field. 

It may take some time, but remember, you can be the influence and can change the course of the future of music education! 

I am sure there are plenty of musicians and music educators in your area who can relate to and support you. So why don’t you search for them, get in touch with them, and collaborate with them to get the support you need!

3. Be innovative.

You can be innovative in your teaching by coming up with so many new ways and tools to engage students so that your teaching method remains up to date and effective. 

All of us were taught music with methods and materials relevant to us when we were students. Now, that was how many years (or decades) ago?   

So, don’t get stuck with the old methods and teaching materials. Instead, discover something new by researching what’s out there, learning new skills, introducing technology into teaching, or creating your ways!

4. Be irreplaceable–be YOU! 

There are so many piano teachers out there–in fact, too many of us in the world! But there is only one YOU. 

Why don’t you bring your unique qualities into your teaching style rather than following what/how anyone else is doing?

Let’s start by discovering your distinctive qualities. For example, you can ask yourself questions like:

1)  What are the areas of my interest besides music? 

  • Psychology
  • Neuroscience 
  • Finance
  • Marketing
  • Technology
  • Communications
  • Visual arts
  • Social network


2) Do I have any specific area of interest in the music industry?

  • Music technology
  • Composition
  • Music theory
  • Improvisation
  • A particular era of music history
  • Technique

3) Who do I want to reach out to and help?

  • specific age group
  • group rather than private lessons
  • students with disabilities

Remember, you are extraordinary in what/how you do, and no one can compare! 

5. Be irresistible–meaning, be interesting!

Don’t be boring! You have to have fun in what you do and create fun programs/methods for your students so that you become irresistible to them! 

Of course, learning to play musical instruments is a serious business. However, seriousness does not have to be boring–in fact, serious piano students enjoy practicing the piano! They do not do meaningless, mindless, and boring exercises, but rather, they create solutions to challenging passages, for example. 

What does fun look like to you? Start inserting “fun” in your teaching–this will make a massive difference in your teaching studios and students’ lives! 

Be inspirational, influential, innovative, irreplaceable, and irresistible! Onward and forward, my fellow piano teacher! You’ve got this. You can seize the day if you start practicing these 5 I’s right away!


Yukimi Song