Don’t worry. You’re not the first person to ask me that. Every time I tell someone I’ve studied piano pedagogy they look at me like I have six heads. If you’ve snooped around my website you’ll also have seen that word mentioned a lot so I figured it was about time to explain what the heck it means. So here goes.

The word pedagogue has Greek roots. The first pedagogues were slaves. They were trusted members of rich households who accompanied the sons of their ‘masters’ in the street, oversaw their meals and sat beside them when being schooled.

These pedagogues were generally seen as representatives of their wards’ fathers and literally ‘tenders’ of children. In fact, the word pedagogue is translated as paidagogos where pais paidos is a boy and agogos is a guide.

The role of the pedagogue used to differ from that of the teacher. The pedagogue was there for guidance, directing the pupil into putting into practice what he had been taught while the teacher only instructed.

 Over the centuries the distinction between the pedagogue and the teacher gradually diminished and pedagogy became focused mainly upon the methods behind teaching. Today, pedagogy is defined as ‘the method and practice of teaching’ meaning piano pedagogy is considered to be the method and practice of teaching someone to play the piano.

So, when I say I studied piano pedagogy I really studied all aspects of piano teaching from the musical and technical development of the pupil through initial to advanced stages, the process of work on different types of repertoire, the role of the teacher in the teaching process (and a whole load of other things!)

Personally, I still view piano pedagogy as more than just the methods and practices behind teaching the piano. I’ve always found the image of the ancient Greek pedagogue walking beside his pupil deeply moving and something I strive to achieve in my lessons. The feeling of teamwork, that I am not just barking instructions at my students but rather journeying all aspects of life with them and helping them to put into practice what they are learning. I believe piano pedagogy is as much teaching your students good technique as it is helping them to grow as artists.

In my next post I will look in more depth at piano pedagogy as an art and as a discipline, considering what it takes to be a successful piano teacher!

I hope this has answered your questions about what pedagogy means!!

Lauren x