5 Tips for Teaching Beginner Piano

Do you play the piano? Do you know someone who wants to learn? Teaching beginner piano is not as hard as you may think. It requires a little patience, and a knowledge of how to play yourself. Here are a few items and tips to get you started:

  • Order Piano Lessons, Book 1 by Hal Leonard. Flip through the book before the lesson. At the first lesson I give the student this book and we go through the first pages together, making it fun and with little games. We discover finger numbers and groups of 2 and 3 black notes. We use our second finger to play a note, etc. The first lesson or two is only 15 minutes if the child is young. I find they get squirmy if I bombard them with too much info right away.


  • Purchase or make a star chart for practice. For the first book, I ask the child to play each song 3 times a day. This works better for me than asking for a time limit. Of course, they can practise more, but this is a starting point. We progress to a time limit as age and maturity increase. The star chart helps me to understand why a student is struggling. If they have practiced 5 days, then perhaps they have not understood something. If they only practiced once, then your problem is lack of practice. I usually reward consistent practice with a small treat.


  • Purchase flash cards for the student as soon as they start learning notes. I ask the student to practice these every day along with their songs. Alternatively, I assign a music note program on a tablet or phone.


  • I like to teach 2 students at a time for the first book. Children learn from each other, and motivate each other to play well. It’s also more fun to play flash card games when there is competition. Be careful to maintain a balance so that both children feel like they are doing well.


  • Teach weekly lessons. Small children get bored and forget if you go much longer between lessons. Try to keep them consistent especially at first. I have taught 2 lessons a week at the very beginning. This works well, but can be difficult to fit into real life.


I hope these tips will get you started teaching. Please comment below if you have any questions. Teaching beginner piano is a wonderful way of sharing the gift of music with others!

Are you a piano teacher? I would love to hear your favorite tip for teaching piano in the comments below. Thanks for contributing!

4 thoughts on “5 Tips for Teaching Beginner Piano”

  1. I’ve been using a book called “Tunes for Ten Fingers” in my lessons. It introduces one note at a time instead of starting with the “C position” like I did when I learned piano. I was wondering if one method is better than the other?

    1. Hi Karissa! Thanks for asking this question. I have always taught with books which introduce individual notes at a time like the one you are using although I always emphasize using flashcards and or apps to reinforce the notes. At the moment we are having a contest to see who can get the most right notes in the fastest time. This helps everyone! I have heard of the c position method, and while this may be easier at first, I wonder if this may be difficult to break away from later on. But, like many teaching strategies, I believe different students learn different ways. So, just be open to adjusting your books and methods as the students needs change. Keep up the good work! Carrie

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