Teaching students, especially young children, requires a lot of patience and compassion on top of expertise. As a piano teacher, the way you communicate directly affects whether the student receives your message or not, regardless of how well qualified you are as a music scholar and piano performer.
One important idea I have learnt from the music workshop I attended last year in Tokyo is that, students can feel insecure and vulnerable at times in their lessons. When they feel unsafe – note: not physically, but rather, emotionally, as there are chances of being criticized and pointing out their mistakes they make in their playing (or answers), they stop focusing on their music and instead on trying to be “correct”. They spend more time and effort worrying about their potential failure rather than expressing and enjoying themselves and the music. They would stop trying because they do not want to make more mistakes (especially after being told they were wrong or even yelled at in a disapproved tone).
One of the teacher’s many responsibilities is to show the student (again and again) that s/he can feel safe and supported during the lessons and the music journey together with the teacher, that s/he can feel free to ask questions and explore in the playing and practice. Therefore, building a great relationship between the teacher and student is crucial for ultimate success in music learning and achieving great results. And in order to do that, the teacher who truly cares about his/her teaching would put in utmost effort and patience in every single lesson with each student s/he has, because every lesson/student matters, young or old, “talented” or not.
Watching the students grow, young or adult, beginner or advanced, is the greatest pleasure a teacher can have.