How to Create Independent Music Students

by Daniel Patterson

How to Create Independent Music Students

The dream of every music teacher is a roster full of independent music students that play well.

The reality?

Music teachers spend a lot of time each week correcting mistakes. Most of the lesson time is spent on notes and rhythm.

Students slowly struggle through their pieces.

Who is to blame?

That’s a tricky question and probably not the best question we could ask.

The better question is…

How do we create non-needy, independent music students?

That’s the focus of today’s video, and in this video we talk about:

  • How to teach processes not pieces
  • How to upgrade your use of time in your teaching studio
  • How to empower your teaching staff to create independent music students
  • The two ways that parents judge your studio and your teaching… and how to keep parents happy so that they continue to enroll their kids in your studio

Click below to watch:



Here’s what we cover in the episode:

  • (0:00) Daniel shares his strategy behind simple teaching vs. abstract teaching

  • (7:40) Why to STOP using so many words (even when you’re teaching theory)!!

  • (12:38) Ditch the metronome… you can teach rhythm this way

  • (16:00) How to measure “success” in your studio

  • (23:02) What your students can do right now to develop independence in lessons

  • (28:47) Leveling up as a teacher… being needed for more than just information


Is it possible to create independent piano students? Guitar students? Students of any discipline?

It’s not a pipe dream… provided teachers have a mindset shift.

It’s crucial that you teach a learning process to your students… not individual pieces!

What do you think? Do you have comments or pushback?

Let us know in the comments below!


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Daniel Patterson is a private teacher, writer, and marketing consultant for music schools. He began teaching in 2004. He co-founded and led marketing operations for a summer music camp that sees over 200 children each summer.

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