Thinking as You Play

Thinking as You Play

Teaching Piano in Individual and Group Lessons
Sylvia Coats
Distribution: World
Publication date: 1/17/2006
Format: paper 184 pages, 11 b&w illus.
6.125 x 9.25
ISBN: 978-0-253-21815-5
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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.

Author Bio

Sylvia Coats is Professor of Piano Pedagogy and Class Piano at Wichita State University. She is an active member of MTNA having served on the Board of Directors and as President of the West Central Division. She lives in Wichita, Kansas.


"Instructors wishing to sharpen their apporach to private and group pinao lessons and willing to use the techniques Coats outlines will undoubtedly become better at teaching students to think for themselves." —Music Educators Journal

"[A] wonderful book for the experienced teacher who wants to take his or her teaching to the next level. Graduate pedagogy students or undergraduates . . . would also benefit greatly from this book. . . . [T]houghtful and thought-provoking . . . stuffed full of information." —American Music Teacher

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Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments
1. Introduction
2. Lesson Planning
3. Developing Creativity through Student Discovery
4. The Real Basics of Music: Musical Concepts
5. The Real Basics of Music: Musical Principles
6. Designing a Curriculum
7. Communication between Student and Teacher
8. Learning Styles
9. Introduction to Group Teaching
10. Group Growth
11. Problem Solving in Group Lessons
12. Group Dynamics
Appendix 1. Dancing the Baroque Suites
Appendix 2. Features of Court Dance of the Renaissance and Baroque Periods
Appendix 3. Dancing and Playing the Romantic Dances