Thinking as You Play focuses on how to teach, not what to teach. Sylvia Coats gives piano teachers tools to help students develop creativity and critical thinking, and guidelines for organizing the music taught into a comprehensive curriculum. She suggests effective strategies for questioning and listening to students to help them think independently and improve their practice and performance. She also discusses practical means to develop an awareness of learning modalities and personality types. A unique top-down approach assists with presentations of musical concepts and principles, rather than a bottom-up approach of identifying facts before the reasons are known.
Thinking as You Play is one of the few available resources for the teacher of group piano lessons. Ranging from children’s small groups to larger university piano classes, Coats discusses auditioning and grouping students, strategies for maximizing student productivity, and suggestions for involving each student in the learning process.