Piano Note

Teaching Philosophy

Kyu Butler Piano Studio

I believe that my role as a teacher is first, to guide each student in developing their potential, and second, to motivate and inspire them to keep learning. Meeting these objectives involves providing a stimulating environment. In my studio, in addition to technical aspects of teaching piano, my students are provided encouragement. My goal is to provide positive learning experiences. There are different approaches that can be used to provide positive experiences and an inspiring environment, with each approach tailored to meet the individual student’s specific needs. For example, some students respond well to competitions, which can be good tools to motivate the student to study and practice intensely. However, others may feel too much pressure by the process of preparing for competitions. Each individual is unique and has different capabilities and needs. The personality and goals of the student need to be considered and applied to the learning process. I seek opportunities to enlarge my knowledge and teaching skills, bringing different styles to fit to each student’s personality.

Keywords for my piano students include “building confidence”. Young children and teenagers who come to my studio are sometimes facing other issues that can affect the learning process. It is therefore sometimes very important for teachers to consider helping their students to find themselves in life and to grow into good human beings with solid character. As an educator, my dream is to see my students and their families develop a strong trust in the power of music and the potential for its positive influence. My goal is to help the student develop a positive attitude, and to build confidence in themselves, through music. For example, I have a student with autism. Dealing with “special needs” children can be difficult, which requires me to do research on how to best help them. When he entered a competition and received 2nd place, his mother was very emotional. She cried and told me over the phone that she never thought or imagined that this could happen in her life. She told me that she has more confidence in him, and for his future. By learning music and achieving goals, students can build confidence. I see some dynamic changes in families, after they see their children’s achievements. I believe students can grow and develop their own character in music by having positive learning experiences, regardless of their background.

While students are having piano lessons with me, I encourage them to study music theory. I see music theory as grammar in the language of music. By obtaining grammar, students can reach higher levels in reading and writing, which is exactly same as in music. The better students are equipped, the better they will play on piano. I have an adult piano student who is eager to learn about music theory and form of music. He wants to play some J. S. Bach pieces, and he agreed with me that it is very difficult to understand and play a Fugue without an understanding of the structure. By learning music theory, one day some students may become teachers, and I hope they will have knowledge and insights to teach their own students well.

As a teacher, I try to see myself from the perspective of the student and as the mentor. Of course, learning music requires discipline and a capacity to continue focusing on developing skills – it is marathon, not a sprint. To develop my skills, I am involved in Suzuki teacher training, Royal Conservatory of Music’s teacher training, Music Teachers National Association (MTNA), MTNA Teacher Certification, Missouri Music Teachers Association, St. Louis Area Music Teachers Association, webinars, workshops, and conferences.

I would like to be a role model to my students. I keep pushing myself to be a better teacher and also practicing piano to be a better performer, so that my students can mirror themselves from me. My desire is to grow as a teacher with my students so as we mature together we can gain together in competence and in love of musicthereby eventually developing life-long friendships.

“Teaching is a great way to keep learning.”

-Matthea Harvey-


Pianist Kyu Butler


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