Dear Susan,  I am just getting started teaching piano and I was wondering if you can suggest some books on piano teaching.

I am asked this question a lot, so during the month of August I will try to review some pedagogy books on my bookshelf that have been helpful to me. 

About 10 or so years ago I was surfing the web and came across a website by an Australian  music teacher, Philip Johnston. His writings on the web about teaching piano were so interesting and engaging I couldn’t resist buying the book he had just published,  The Practice Revolution, subtitled, Getting great results from the six days between music lessons.  

Have you ever read something that changed your thinking forever? Well, this book did that for me,  and I have used his ideas many times over the years. With humor and a real flair for the English language, Johnston goes through all the right and wrong ways to practice. Is your student “chopping wood with a spoon”, is he a “shiny object polisher”, a “speed demon”, or a “clock watcher”? These are examples of his clever descriptions of the different ways students practice. He has  chapters on why students don’t practice, practice flaws, how to learn a new piece, how to memorize it, and many more useful ideas that you can use right away with your students. This is not a head in the clouds, ivory tower textbook, but a realistic book for the private elementary to high school age music teacher.

Philip Johnston is so incredibly enthusiastic and positive about teaching that it will surely rub off on you.  I have never known a piano teacher who did not find this book helpful. The book is 320 pages and packed full of  ideas that really work. I find myself referring to my dog-eared copy again and again.  If you are looking for a book with a positive, can-do attitude to inspire you for the next teaching year, this is the one to do it.

Please follow and like us:
Follow by Email

9 thoughts to “The Practice Revolution

  • Marcia

    Susan, do you think the “Practiceopedia” that Johnston wrote came from “The Practice Revolution?” I had the Practice Revolution at one time and loaned it to a parent, never got it back. A few years later I bought the Practiceopedia and love it.

    • susanparadis

      Yes, it think it does come from The Practice Revolution.

      I have the Practiceopedia, too. I got it for my high school students to read while they wait. It is very similiar, but it is more for parents and students than Practice Revolution, don’t you think?

      I would be upset if I loaned it out and never got it back! Do you think you could call them up and ask for it back?

  • Mike Saville

    Certainly a man after my own heart. I fully agree that this book is excellent 😉

  • Michelle Gordon

    I second the Philip Johnston book!! It is very readable, and full of good, practical ideas. Of course, I also second the books that Dennis Alexander recommended. I particularly like “Practical Piano Pedagogy”.

  • Dennis Alexander

    Sorry, I misspelled one of the author’s names of “The Well-Tempered Keyboard Teacher”. It should be Stewart Gordon, NOT Steward Gordon.

  • Dennis Alexander

    There are several excellent piano pedagogy textbooks available today that are enormously helpful to both experienced teachers as well as teachers who are just getting started. They include:
    “Professional Piano Teaching” by Jeanine M. Jacobson (published by Alfred),%20Jeanine%20M.&type=Author

    “Practical Piano Pedagogy” by Dr. Martha Baker-Jordan (published by Alfred),%20Martha&type=Author

    “The Well-Tempered Keyboard Teacher” by Marienne Uszler, Steward Gordon, and Scott McBride-Smith (published by Schirmer Books)

    • susanparadis

      Yes, I agree those are good books that I have on my shelf and I hope to get around to reviewing this month!

  • Ellen

    Susan, you are wonderful! Thank you so much for all that you do for those of us who teach piano!

    • susanparadis

      Thanks, Ellen. I really appreciate your comment!

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: