I can’t believe we’re about to start week four of school! Where does the time go? My plan to have part II of ‘what the heck is pedagogy’ up on the blog two weeks ago was one almighty fail. I’m blaming my love of autumn and my need to go and buy every cosy jumper possible from keeping me back from finishing it! Alas, it is time to stop shopping and start writing!

In part I of ‘what the heck is pedagogy’ I looked at the meaning of pedagogy and how it has changed over the centuries. In this post I will look at pedagogy as a discipline and an art, considering why knowledge and skill of both are key to being a successful piano teacher.

Piano pedagogy as a discipline

There are three reasons why I consider piano pedagogy to be a discipline. Firstly it has a structured knowledge, secondly it is based on specific principles and thirdly it covers many different methods and approaches all of which can be proven, explained and justified.

To effectively teach someone to play the piano a structured or structural knowledge is vital as this is the branch of knowledge required in the creation of plans and strategies. We must also have a thorough and deep knowledge of the specific principles that piano pedagogy is based upon and an understanding of the many different methods and approaches to piano teaching.

Piano pedagogy as an art

Piano pedagogy can be viewed as being in the domain of musical art. Some famous pianist pedagogues refer to it as artistic pedagogy. As with any art, it requires a high level of skill as a performer – the skill to communicate, artistic intuintion and many other qualities that the artist should possess.

Whilst piano pedagogy rests on the art of performance, the art of performance is fully dependent on the art of music. So in order to be a successful piano teacher, we need to know how the art of performance functions – to communicate to the listener the artistic content of the work of music.

In short, to be a successful piano teacher we must have a thorough and deep knowledge of the principles and methods of piano pedagogy, the ability to structure and plan, and have a high level of performance. We cannot have one without the other!

Do not be afraid to ask your teacher about their background in piano pedagogy. Find out where they have studied, under whom, if they still play and perform, what they are reading or what methods they use to teach and why.

Lauren x