School of Music

Keyboard Department

Why study piano pedagogy?

Most piano teachers who do not study piano pedagogy simply continue to teach the way that they were taught.  While many aspects of their our own piano study might have been quite good and should be retained, teaching the way we were taught simply perpetuates traditions while ignoring new understandings and research-based information.  Piano teachers need to be thinking, creative, flexible and dynamic people who continue to study and grow in their own playing and teaching approach.  Piano pedagogy study helps the piano teacher develop the habits of intellectual growth in piano teaching.

Why study piano pedagogy at East Carolina University?

The primary goal of the East Carolina University Piano Pedagogy Program is to create thoughtful piano teachers who are well versed in critical analytical techniques in regard to piano methods, teaching approaches, piano technique, child and adult development, and the many other aspects that are relevant to the real world of piano teaching. It is not the goal of the program to promote one teaching philosophy, but to give the student teacher the tools and knowledge to make an educated decision in choosing the best from all possible approaches.

A primary aspect of the East Carolina University Piano Pedagogy Program is its inclusion of the most current research and understandings about piano teaching.  The ECU piano pedagogy student is encouraged to keep abreast of current research in music education, music learning, educational and developmental psychology, and piano education, and incorporate these understandings into their teaching philosophy and teaching approach.  The piano pedagogy student develops perspective in regard to piano teaching traditions and retains the best of that teaching, but is flexible and willing to change ideas and approaches if the research either doesn't’ support those traditions or suggests something even better.

While the primary focus of the program is the promotion of the independent piano teacher of pre-college age students, an important objective is to help each student teacher develop personal career goals, which may also include college teaching, teaching adult leisure students, or group piano teaching.

Guiding all of these goals is a desire to develop professionals who are searching for and attaining the best in piano teaching, who are actively involved in the profession, and who may influence piano teacher organizations at the local, state, national and international levels.

Piano Teaching in the 21st century—Is piano teaching a viable career?

In spite of the high tech age in which we live, or sometimes because of it, parents are still interested in having their children study the piano, and adults are beginning piano study or returning to study in record numbers.  It is apparent that people still love the sound of the piano. In addition to the aesthetic aspects of piano study, the public is aware of the research that shows a strong connection between music study, and piano study in particular, to academics and the development of spatial processing in the brain.

At the beginning of the 21st century, good piano teachers still have waiting lists of students who want to study with them.  Excellent piano teachers are needed everyone, and the qualified piano teacher can go almost anywhere and establish a successful piano teaching studio.  It is a very portable career.