Below is the third key element of my teaching philosophy.

3. I aim to combine high expectations with a friendly, encouraging atmosphere in order to motivate students to ask questions and take risks.

Did you ever notice that some of the most effective learning happens when we fail? This is why it is so incredibly important for a teacher to create an atmosphere where this can happen.

Teachers need to expect high quality work. Tolerating sloppiness invalidates any attempts to motivate students to pursue excellence.

However, if students always perform virtually perfectly, they likely aren’t learning much. Part of high expectations is stretching students beyond their comfort zones.

It is essential for teachers to create an atmosphere where students feel comfortable asking questions and trying new things without fear. Teachers should encourage students when they take risks, even if they “fail.” The goal is making music, NOT perfection!!

Encouragement is as crucial to motivation as high expectations are. If students feel they can succeed without effort, they might as well stop trying. But if students feel they can never succeed, they might as well stop trying too. Both are detrimental.

Students need to know that piano lessons are a safe place to learn.