Mind over music : an analytical approach to teaching the beginner/intermediate piano student.

Date of Award


Document Type



Caspersen School of Graduate Studies

Degree Name

Doctor of Letters


Beginner/intermediate classical private piano lessons are one of the most popular endeavors a child may begin and then terminate during their formative education. This document is a detailed study on how to eliminate many of the reasons children quit their lessons. It is vital to rethink and reapply several methods to the musical education process so children will continue their piano lessons long enough to play music into their adulthood. This document is divided into seven chapters. Chapter One, "Recognizing All the Obstacles as Parents and Teachers," lists the stages a child transitions as he progresses during his classical piano education. Chapter Two, "The Piano Teacher and the Piano," discusses what qualities parents should look for in a teacher and in an instrument before beginning piano lessons. Chapter Three, "Reading and Counting Music," provides recommendations on how to learn these two foundational skills to progress successfully as a classical piano student. Chapter Four, "Teaching the Four Mind Styles," introduces an academic rubric to musical education. Chapter Five, "Motivation," provides an academic rubric to intrinsically motivate the beginner/intermediate piano student. Chapter Six, "Performing," equates the act of performing on the piano to a child's academic journey with an attempt to reduce, if not eliminate, the stress of playing in front of an audience. Chapter Seven, "Performing From Memory," discusses the different ways a child's memory works with hopes of alleviating the stress of performing from memory. The overall objective of this document is to introduce teaching methodologies that will ensure that young classical piano students keep happily playing throughout their lives.