Guest Blog: What Are Piano Lessons For?

I am re-blogging this post by Elissa Milne for two reasons:

  1. If  you are not yet onto her, I want to introduce you to Elissa because I admire how she thinks and writes about the music teaching profession.
  2. I like this particular post because it reaches all the way down to the “why do we do this?” level of self-reflection for teachers and because I endorse her conclusions.  My favorite sentence in this post: “…It’s not about performance per se, but about the ability of the student to express themselves freely through the piano.”
September 24, 2010

What Are Piano Lessons For?

This is a very personal manifesto about the purpose of piano lessons. You may not agree. You may disagree vehemently. But what you (as a piano teacher or as a parent of a piano student or as a piano student) believe piano lessons are for will affect your level of satisfaction with the piano lessons you are giving, or you or your child is receiving.

This manifesto is written from the perspective of a piano teacher and former piano student, although I also suppose that these days my perspective includes that of prospective parent of a piano student (my son, Tom, is now three and a half years old).

1. Piano lessons are for learning how to do cool stuff on the piano.

Cool stuff starts with things like

  • playing familiar melodies,
  • creating glissandi,
  • using the sustain pedal,

and moves on to more sophisticated cool stuff like..
Read More

Until next time, enjoy your creative music-making journey,






Bradley Sowash


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