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  • Dima Tahboub

Dealing With Behavioral Problems In Your Piano Studio

When I first decided that I want to welcome all children to my piano studio regardless of their abilities, challenges or diagnosis I started noticing that some of these children have some recurring behavioral issues that interfered with learning and I needed to take action to insure progress.




Here is a possible scenario:


The student comes in for the lesson, instead of saying hello and walking towards the piano, he runs around the studio playing with everything in sight one thing after another:


The moment he comes in through the door and before you realize, you find him opening the lid of the grand piano and sticking his hands inside playing with the strings. You go to explain to him why this is not a good idea, except that by the time you reach him he is now testing the metronome. Again, you start explaining to him what and how to use it but unfortunately, he is not listening and he is now on his way to your desk. A moment later, a pencil is in his hand and he is writing on your schedule and the books on your shelf.


This doesn’t happen only once, it is a pattern of behavior that repeats every time this student comes in for his lesson. Starting the lesson becomes a struggle and you realize that you need to take control of the situation.




Behavioral experts suggest that in order to be able to change a behavior and create a new habit successfully you need to answer the following 4 questions:


How can I make it obvious?

How can I make it attractive?

How can I make it easy?

How can I make it satisfying?




Here is how to use these 4 questions to solve the behavior problem I mentioned above:



How can I make it obvious?

State clearly the new desired behavior. In this case, you want your student to come in, say hello, go to the piano and get ready for the lesson.


How can I make it attractive?

State the reward that will follow if the rule is followed. What does your student like to do as a reward? sing? play the tambourine? ask her and decide together.

Create a rewards system.


How can I make it easy?

State you new rule in easy clear steps.

When I come in for a piano lesson

Step one, I say hello.

Step two, I take off my jacket.

Step three, I go to the piano.


How can I make it satisfying?

If the student does all the steps required, she gets her reward, always and you have created a new habit loop. Keep doing the same until this becomes the new behavior which may take a few months.



The secret word here is "Consistency"


Results are guaranteed.



For more tips and teaching ideas on how to deal with behavioral problems


Dealing with tantrums and meltdowns in your piano studio.

Does my piano student have a learning difficulty?



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Amman, Jordan