Piano Teacher and the Uninterested Student

When I think back to the very first time I was ever tutored, it was by my private piano teacher when I was in the 5th grade. My mother decided that I was going to learn the piano, so she hired a piano teacher trained in classical music to tutor me twice each week. To make matters worse (hmmmm....guess who didn't like the idea of this at all!), my tutor was my 2nd grade teachers husband. Uh, oh! Great. See I really liked the woman who was my 2nd grade teacher, but knew nothing about her husband.

So, every Tuesday and Thursday I had to walk down the street from my school to an old Victorian house that had been transformed into an office building. Once inside, I would trudge up the stairs and have a seat in the hallway, waiting for my teacher to finish up with his current student. More often than not, I would be greeted by my teacher and have a seat at the piano, waiting to begin my lesson in the classical art of piano. Most often than not, I ended up leaving his office an hour later in tears due to his unrealistic expectations voiced VERY loudly and my unwillingness (and lack of interest) in learning to play the classical piano music he was teaching me.

What I took away from this experience many years later was that others may express a wish that you learn.......(you fill in the blank), but if you have absolutely no interest in learning......(fill in the blank) and you will seemingly receive no benefits from learning.....(fill in the blank), then you will fail miserably.

Same with this form of tutoring. If one of my students has absolutely no "buy-in" or will not seemingly benefit from my tutoring them, then it will be a waste of time for both of us. Students who come to me must want to learn. I can not force them to learn.

Strange twist to this story. Many years later, I now love to LISTEN to classical music and especially the piano, but due to the way my piano teacher treated me, I will never learn to PLAY the piano. Tutors must understand that students have different learning styles, as well as different rates of learning. Some students will need lessons modified, while others will pick up the material being taught right away. No one student fits a generic mold. Everyone is unique, quirky, different, and wonderful. That is what makes us human!


Kimberly C.

Certified Elementary Education Teacher/Tutor

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