The piano is an incredible instrument, and there are many wonderful people that devote their time and energy towards writing about it. From classical pianists to piano teachers, there are dozens and dozens of websites dedicated to helping and teaching the piano community. And today, we’re going to recognize the blogs that we feel shine the brightest.
Below are some of the best and most influential piano blogs on the Internet (in our humble opinion). Criteria for this list was simple—bloggers that had excellent, relevant content for their audience, blogs that were informative, revealing and educational, and blogs that were updated regularly.
So, without further ado, let’s get right to it.
With his “Teach Differently” tagline, Mr. Topham aims to bring unique ideas and approaches to the world of teaching piano that are laser focused on positively impacting a student’s growth and learning development. When you visit Tim’s website, you quickly realize he’s an out-of-the-box thinker, a refreshing change when it comes to piano teaching.
Tim wants his students to be “creative, curious and competent,” and his website helps provide teachers with the right tools to be effective instructors.
Notable Blog Post: “6 Mistakes I Made When I Started Teaching Piano”
Students don’t mind if you don’t know every answer – in fact, they’ll enjoy the fact that you admit it and might need to jump online for help.
Assuming that you know the basics of music and are already a competent teacher, this is totally OK!
Remember that you should be learning things just as much as your students are learning new things everyday. How boring life would be without challenging your own knowledge!
Be open to failure and being unsure, even if it’s in front of your students.”
This blog is run by Frances Wilson, a London-based pianist and piano teacher. Frances is known throughout the piano blogging community and is well-respected amongst her fellow piano blogging peers.
The Cross-Eyed Pianist blog focuses on pianism, classical music and culture. Ms. Wilson also runs her own piano studio.
Notable Blog Post: “Reflections on Ten Years as a Piano Teacher”
There is no “one size fits all” in teaching because all children – and adults too – are individuals and deserve to be treated as such. I know each student’s strengths and weaknesses, what music they particularly enjoy, and how much or little they like to be pushed by teacher. Some want to take exams, others are content to learn music which they simply enjoying playing. I’ve always been a natural communicator and it’s not in my nature to be overly didactic: I want to empower students by giving them the tools, and confidence, which encourages self-discovery and independent learning.
I have a couple of very musical and talented students, and supporting them with issues such as perfectionism, performance anxiety and the psychology of performance present their own interesting challenges and force me to think outside the box as their teacher and confront my own issues in these areas. All my students are hardworking and enthusiastic, who are taking lessons because they want to, not because a parent has insisted on it.”
Natalie Weber operates a piano studio in middle America (Derby, Kansas, to be exact). Having taught piano lessons since the age of 17, Natalie’s Music Matters Blog caters towards inspiring creativity within the sphere of music education.
Notable Blog Post: “An Embarrassing Confession”
At the beginning of January, I sat all my students down at the beginning of their lesson and asked them to evaluate their own level of fluency in identifying and playing any note on the staff. Most of them knew that they were sorely lacking. The one who didn’t was quickly proved wrong by a brief activity designed to evaluate the aforementioned skill. I continued our heart-to-heart by asking them whose fault they thought that was. Some of them sheepishly mumbled, trying to take the blame. All of them were shocked when I confessed that it was my fault. And one told me that it was okay, that she still thought I was a great teacher.
Anyway, I told them that I was putting a halt to the learning of any new pieces of printed music until they had fully mastered every note on the staff (for starters). They nodded in understanding, and we’ve spent the last month working our tails off to learn and master identifying and playing every note on the staff. This is our first step, but I am already seeing such tremendous results that I’m excited to continue in this path to ensure that every one of my students becomes a successful and fluent music reader.”
Joy Morin resides in Ohio and has been teaching piano since 2005. Having one of the more popular piano teaching blogs on the Internet, Joy boasts thousands of loyal subscribers because she shares her experiences, free printable worksheets and sheet music, and downloadable teaching resources with her readers.
Notable Blog Post: “On Establishing a Daily Habit”
We piano teachers tend to cite a lack of motivation when it comes to students failing to practice regularly. But what about when the problem isn’t a lack of motivation? Many of our students want to practice, but there are barriers preventing it from occurring daily … Instead of focusing on motivating our students to practice, what if we helped our students brainstorm and implement practical ways to eliminate the barriers that make practice difficult or inconvenient? What if we helped them come up with effective reminder systems for daily practice? How can we help students create their own opportunities to achieve “small wins” on their way to establishing new habits?”
(The Classical Piano & Music Education Blog)
Melanie is a classical pianist and a writer that enjoys blogging about the piano, piano music, and music education as a whole. She has also written for publications like Clavier Companion and Music Teacher Magazine.
Through everything from blog posts to advice and video interviews, Melanie does a great job of truly teaching her readers. Whether it’s about the Art of Polyphony or breaking down the significance of the Una Corda, Melanie does a great job of writing in a way that’s both instructional and down-to-earth.
Notable Blog Post: “The Power of Visualisation”
For those acquainted with mental imagery and positive imaginative thought processes, visualisation will be a frequent occurrence. By visualising events, in effect, ‘watching’ them happen in your mind (akin to running a video), you are thereby encouraging their fruition. This can be a useful tool when applied to piano playing.
Memorisation is the most obvious beneficiary, because by visualising playing a piece, whether that be watching yourself play it on stage or in a performance situation, or by literally observing each and every note as it is being played (this takes tremendous effort and concentration), the visual aspect most certainly aids thorough knowledge. However, for those who would rather not play from memory (or perhaps don’t need to), but want to learn pieces, sight-read, and play scales or exercises accurately, visualising can still play an important role.”
Susan is a pianist and a writer that blogs on her own self-titled website. Hailing from the United Kingdom, Ms. Tomes has been a successful chamber music pianist for decades and has penned four books from 2004 to 2014.
Susan’s blog mixes reflections on music with everyday issues (like the UK Brexit vote) to give her readers both information and perspective.
Notable Blog Post: “Brexit”
The UK vote to leave the European Union has shocked the classical music world, particularly the young European musicians who have opted to study, live or work in the UK courtesy of EU rules and funding. I’ve taught them and played with them on various courses and have always regarded their presence in the UK as highly beneficial. Bringing other cultural and musical traditions with them, they have enriched the musical life of this country and, in many cases, driven up instrumental standards.
Their work ethic, cosmopolitan outlook and ambition have been educative for us. Many orchestras and many of the best young chamber groups, such as string quartets, are now heavily dependent on the skills of European players. I personally have never heard any British musician complain that ‘EU migrants’ are taking jobs away from them.”
Graham Fitch is the man behind Practising the Piano, a multimedia eBook series that helps piano players get the most out of the practice sessions. Mr. Fitch (who is based in London) is a pianist himself, as well as a teacher and a writer.
Notable Blog Post: “A Technical Problem?”
In order for the fingers to cooperate, they need to be given very clear commands from our brain as to exactly where they are supposed to go, and what they must do when they get there. If we are woolly-minded about the patterns in a piece of music or the type of sound (mood, character, etc.) we are after, how can we expect any kind of fluent or meaningful result?”
Susan is a piano teacher that uses her blog to help people. A composer of piano music for her students, Ms. Paradis uses her website to post her composed music online in an effort to share it with anyone that wants to download it. Susan has a variety of free and paid teaching materials that visitors can enjoy, and she uses her blog to expound on the music that she’s written as well as her teaching methods.
Notable Blog Post: “The Boy Who Didn’t Like Halloween…”
The Boy Who Didn’t Like Halloween is a child-centered piece for students from first to fourth grade. I wrote it like a ballad, so I tell my students it is a song to play on the piano. The words are funny and my students laughed out loud. I based the words on things my students have said over the years, so I think they can relate. Of course there is a happy ending!”
This blog is helmed by Melody Payne, a pianist and teacher. Melody has been teaching piano lessons since 1990, and she joined Teachers Pay Teachers in an effort to share her worksheets and piano resources (that were created to help her students) with other teachers interested in enjoying and utilizing them in their classrooms.
- Do note: You can find Melody’s website at its new location: Melody Payne Blog.
Notable Blog Post: “Accompanying 101: 5 Tips for Beginning Accompanists”
Tip 1: Get a specific tempo from the director for each song before you begin practicing. You don’t want to practice something too slowly or too quickly. It’s best to know the performance tempo before you begin so that you know what your final performance goal is.
Tip 2: Three-hole-punch your music and put it in a binder as soon as you receive it. This will streamline your practice sessions and keep the music from falling off the piano as you as you work on your page turns.
Tip 3: Practice the page turns so that they become a seamless part of the performance. Plan in advance whether you need to omit notes, what notes you will omit, and which hand will turn the pages so that you can practice that choreography.
Tip 4: Know how the director conducts entrances and cut-offs. If you have participated in choir or band, you are probably very aware of following the director. If not, this is something the director will have to help you get used to. Your piano teacher can work with you on this as well.
Tip 5: Play musically. No matter what, no matter when, play musically. Think of accompanying as an artistic endeavor, and perform artistically. You will be supporting the choir in many ways, but supporting them musically will enhance the performance.”
This website is run by Gail Fischler. Gail taught private and community class piano, a Pedagogy/Literature seminar at Eastern Arizona College in Thatcher, AZ from 2007 – 2016. She currently maintains an independent studio and mentors teachers in Tucson and via the Internet.
Notable Blog Post: “Building Habits or Correcting Mistakes?”
Some people love to keep practice journals. Others not so much. As usual you need to find what motivates each student. I am totally against keeping a practice log just to track minutes spent per task. That form of record is like a mileage log for your car or bike. Sure, you know how far you have gone but aren’t where you went, what you saw, and how you felt about it the most important things?
There’s a group of people who actually like journaling but will shut down completely if there is a possibility that someone else will read their personal thoughts. They feel way too vulnerable and unsure which sometimes shows up as hostility or arrogance. (And, why do you really have to read their journaling? Would you read someone’s personal diary?) I find if I share what I have discovered musically in my life and practice with them, they will eventually begin to share their musical selves with me verbally and that is fine with me.”
The website is owned and operated by Wendy Stevens, a nationally certified teacher that is also a member of MTNA, KMTA, and WMMTA.
But wait—there’s more.
Wendy is not only a teacher, but also a composer and speaker that enjoys spending her time creating helpful educational articles that can be used by her teaching peers and readers.
Ms. Stevens not only creates written resources for her readers, she also creates video workshops that can aid both teachers and parents alike.
Notable Blog Post: “How to Say “No” and Enforce a No Make Up Lessons Policy“
But don’t try to articulate your schedule. Just be firm and kind when you enforce your make up lessons policy. If they keep asking you or give you a hard time about your make up lessons policy, remind them of the options that you offer like the swap lesson, or the performance class, or remind them that you can work for them during their lesson time (like with lesson plans, choosing repertoire, creating worksheets).
But if you don’t have time in your normal teaching schedule to give the lesson, then don’t cave and give away time in your personal schedule. Do you see the difference? Separate your teaching schedule from your personal schedule. and then protect your personal schedule! Parents protect their personal schedule and you are the only one that is going to protect yours! You decide when you want to work. Don’t let it be decided for you.”
No matter who you are, it’s pretty unique to venture into business with your better half. And it’s certainly unique to venture into a business based around your passion and talent with your better half.
Well, that’s exactly what Andrea and Trevor did. The man and woman behind Teach Piano Today started from humble beginnings, giving lessons out of their home. Once their piano studio started taking over two bedrooms, however, they soon realized it was time to lease a nice location within town, add some pianos, and really get their business up and running the traditional way.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Now, not only do Andrea and Trevor have a successful piano studio that helps students learn how to play, they use their Teach Piano Today blog to help develop and share their teaching resources to other teachers looking to expand their own piano studio businesses.
Notable Blog Post: “9 Piano Teaching Mistakes You Won’t Want To Make This Fall”
We’ve all had lessons where the child we were teaching had some sort of difficulty. Perhaps he was frustrated, upset or confused. Maybe he had had a bad day at school and it carried over into his lesson time. Maybe he was downright defiant and difficult. No matter what the cause, I never forget to send a kind and caring follow-up email to Mom and Dad immediately after I finish the teaching day.
Following up shows you care about their child and that you’re in tune with his feelings. It also helps parents to understand the mood of their child as he left piano lessons and gives them the opportunity to be involved in preventing a recurrence of the problem.”
Heidi’s piano blog helps readers better see how effective different piano teaching methods and related applications can be when educating students. Showcasing how well her children respond to different methods, and demonstrating that interactive games can be fun and educational, Heidi’s Piano Notes blog is a great resource for those interested in finding engaging ways to teach young children the piano.
Notable Blog Post: “Piano Teaching 101- Thirteen Tips on How to Begin“
Practice teaching piano concepts to someone you know to gain some experience. My first experience teaching was with my friend’s daughters who couldn’t afford lessons during a tough time of unemployment. I was excited and grateful for this experience to provide a service and practice my skills as a beginning teacher in a less pressured environment. The babysitting services they provided in exchange were an added bonus!”
Owned and operated by Jennifer Foxx, Music Educator Resources aims to provide helpful resources, advice, and tips to music teachers so that they can better teach their students. Ms. Foxx began teaching piano at the age of 15, and now she’s imparting her wisdom to loyal readers online in a fun, down-to-earth fashion.
Notable Blog Post: “Are You a People Pleaser?”
When I was a young teacher I did not have a policy. Honestly, I didn’t even know they existed. It wasn’t until I moved and joined a music teachers association that I learned about policies. I thought it was such a smart idea! So I put one together.
The trick is when you have a policy, it doesn’t do any good unless you are willing to stick to it. So if you are a people pleaser like I am, you might find this part a lot harder. After all, you can empathize with your families. But just remember…
Sticking to your policy does NOT mean you can’t show a little grace when the need calls for it.”
Diane Hidy’s blog is one of the more unique music-related blogs on the Internet, in our humble opinion. Because not only does Ms. Hidy provide readers with opinion, advice, and helpful teaching resources, but her blog also gets quite introspective, as well.
Diane has experience teaching piano to special needs children or those with unique difficulties understanding or processing certain information. So, when Diane discusses this in-depth, you not only walk away from her blog post with a better understanding of the difficulty some young children face to learn things most adults take for granted, but you also see how attempting to navigate these more challenging lessons can help a teacher grow as both a professional and a person.
Notable Blog Post: “Not Ever”
Sometimes I’ll hear a teacher talking about a student disrespectfully and wonder, “Why in the world do you teach children?” “Do you even like children? Do you know how hard they are trying to please you? Do you know how mortified they would be to hear your words?”
And then I realize, of course, that the child has already heard their words. In every sigh, in every less-than-imaginative assignment, in every frustrated glare and judgmental frown. They’ve gotten the message loud and clear.
Where is the kindness in that? Where is the love or understanding? I know kids are frustrating. I’m the mother of two teenagers right now. But if for one minute I thought that I could be less than kind to a student, I would suggest that student should immediately move on to another teacher.”
Dana Rice teaches piano lessons to students in Georgia. But when she’s not busy doing that, she’s jumping online to share her teaching experiences to readers that are looking to gain a few pearls of wisdom.
And sometimes, those pearls of wisdom don’t necessarily come from in-person lessons. Sometimes, you learn quite a bit when you visit The Dollar Tree.
While Dana specializes in helping children increase their appreciation for piano and singing, she also enjoys writing songs as well.
Notable Blog Post: “1 Simple Phrase To Help Cure Stage Fright”
Right about now young (and old) piano players around the world are getting nervous about playing in front of others. What’s a piano teacher to do to help?
One thing a teacher can do is to help the student view performances from the audience’s perspective. A lot of performers who have stage fright don’t realize that the audience is not judging them at all (unless you’re in a contest of some sort). The lie that stage fright tells the performer is that since all eyes are on him the performance is about him.
THIS IS NOT TRUE!!! Students need to know that the audience is there to RECEIVE the gift of music. The gift of music is many things to the audience. It is a great time, an escape from worries and cares, a chance to be with friends. The audience wants simply to FEEL GOOD. Judging the performer is the least of their concerns. They want the performer to succeed because it means the audience gets to have a good time. Here is another secret: the people in the audience assume that the performance will be great, otherwise they would not be there!”
Joesph Hoffman has a wonderful website that offers 120 free videos aimed at helping beginners learn how to successfully play songs. And, should one want additional aids, more complete materials can be purchased separately (including things such as activity pages, sheet music, practice instructions, etc).
Hoffman, who has been playing piano since he was six-years-old, keeps his blog fresh weekly with content that ranges from recommending that parents not “over help” their struggling children to warning readers that pianos in dire need of repair can teach students bad habits.
Notable Blog Post: “Does Your Child Need a Better Instrument?”
We have two main goals when providing piano students with an instrument. We want them to establish good playing habits, and we want them to have a positive musical experience. The instrument your child practices on every day should have keys that respond properly and have the right amount of resistance to develop agility and proper finger strength. The piano should be in tune so that your child can develop an accurate sense of pitch. More importantly, if a piano is in poor repair, out of tune, with keys that stick or won’t sound at all, it is not going to be a very enjoyable experience to play it.
As I mentioned before, most problems with acoustic pianos, like keys that get stuck, can be repaired. A qualified piano technician can come to your home and give you an assessment. Some older pianos may be too costly to repair, or are no longer able to stay in tune, and are therefore ready for retirement. If that’s the case with your current piano, consider getting a new or gently used piano, or even a good quality digital piano. A good quality digital piano will provide a better playing experience than an acoustic piano in poor condition.”
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