Do you need two pianos to teach with the Suzuki approach?

Claramae said: Feb 12, 2013
Claramae CoPiano
Hayward, CA
1 posts

Dear Forum,

Do any of you have advice for me regarding teaching piano with only one available in my studio? Is this possible?


Piano Teacher

Heather Reichgott said: Feb 14, 2013
Heather ReichgottPiano
South Hadley, MA
102 posts

Sure. Just play on the same piano as the student. I usually sit off to the side of the treble area of the piano and reach over and demonstrate/play along on a higher octave. If I’m working with a young student who needs lots of demonstration and playing along, I sit right on the bench with the student like I’m playing 4 hands.

One piano limits what you can do repertoire-wise—it’s hard to teach concerti and 2-piano rep with only one piano—but you can still do it with some imagination, and in the beginning and intermediate stages that won’t matter anyway.

Carrie said: Feb 15, 2013
 60 posts

Yeah, you can do it. It’s not ideal, but you can make it work. I have a Clavinova as my second piano. Again, not ideal, but it’s what I have and I make it work. I am saving a portion of my income to buy another piano. My piano is old and will become my second when I’m able to buy another.


Lori Bolt said: Feb 15, 2013
Lori BoltPiano
San Clemente, CA
262 posts

For me, two big advantages to teaching w/ two pianos:
1) I provide a physical model of posture and hand position to my students as I demonstrate their pieces or teaching pt. to them. 2) I can demonstrate tone on the same key they are using without reaching over & they’re “ready” on their piano to play and match my tone (or whatever the teaching pt) immediately after I give the signal (no waiting for me to get my hand out of the way. etc.). The student has the sound in his head and can try right away to imitate. Again, there is also the visual model of my playing. Imitation/ following a model is an important part of Suzuki teaching (as you know).

It took me several years teaching Suzuki to see the benefit of two pianos (and longer to convince my husband!). As I attended Workshops and Institutes to receive my own training (taught on two pianos), and observed children being taught on two, I became convinced that this would provide the best experience for my students. We all need to start where we are, however, and do our best with what we have.

As you attend Suzuki training yourself, observe master teachers and speak to them also as you seek answers.

Lori Bolt

Sophia said: Feb 15, 2013
16 posts

As long as the student can clearly see your demonstration of the technique or musical section, this is critical. Ideally, it would be great to have two pianos so that you have more options in the teachng model. Depending on the age of the student, having two pianos can become overwhelming from a young learners point of view. You have to use your best judgment so that you can find the optimal setting for your students.

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