It is all too easy for piano lessons to fall into a repetitive pattern – you practice your pieces, but constantly make the same mistakes. It may feel like every time you go home, your notebook says to work on the same things for the same pieces week after week. This situation can be frustrating, and after a while it may feel as though you are unable to improve because of it. However, by asking your teacher these questions you will be able to improve the communication between you, receive better feedback, and have a more active role in your own piano education.
1. What are My Strengths?
A lot of the time in piano lessons you may find that you hear more about the things you need to work on than those that you already do well. This makes sense, as your piano teacher needs to be able to identify your areas of need – otherwise lessons would be pretty pointless! However, asking your piano teacher about the things you already do well can be a great way to improve your self-confidence!
2. What are My General Areas of Improvement?
Most of the suggestions for your at-home practice sessions will be very specific to the songs that you are working on. That being said, it is also possible that they are all a part of one larger area that you should be constantly working on. For example, you may struggle with expression consistently. Knowing these tendencies are an overall area of work can help you to begin working on them in new pieces before your piano teacher even suggests it.
3. What should I be spending the most time on when I practice?
There are a lot of different components to a piano practice session, and it is important to know which ones your piano teacher places the highest priority on! There are weeks when it is difficult to get full practices in, so being able to know which areas your teacher would prefer you practice can help you keep improving efficiently even when you have limited time.
4. Do you have any practice strategies that would be helpful for me?
Because your teacher knows your piano playing habits better than anyone, asking a question like this that reflects a desire to learn more is a fantastic idea. Your piano teacher does not want to overwhelm you with unwanted suggestions, but if you actively seek them out she will be more than happy to offer them to you. This is a great question to ask in order to learn new practice strategies that are tailored to your specific areas of need.
5. Are there any improvements I can make in my body position/posture?
While many different people may watch you play, your piano teacher is one of the only ones qualified to identify ongoing problems with your body posture or hand position while playing. They may forget to mention these, especially if you are an experienced player, but asking is a great way to have some feedback on a factor of piano that many people forget about!
These questions are great to ask your piano teacher over the course of several lessons. They demonstrate that you want to go above and beyond in your practice sessions and learn as much as possible about your specific strengths and weaknesses when learning piano, as well as a desire to overcome those areas of need. Asking these questions semi-regularly will also help you to keep tabs on your abilities and needs as you improve over time!