Today’s teaching tactic is Breathe. As I considered what to share today, I decided on one word – Breathe. Then I thought of several ways to apply it in my daily teaching. ┬áHere are the applications for this word I came up with:

1. Is your student breathing?

Check that your student isn’t too tense and holding their breath as they play. Sometimes I’ve had students who breathe really weirdly when under pressure or hold their breath for certain parts of their piece that they are most worried about.

2. Take a deep breath.

Sometimes lessons can be frustrating. I have to remind myself to take a deep breath (and sometimes my student) before we delve back in or realize we need to try a new approach to the problem.

3. Phrase breathing.

When students are playing a piece and there seems to be little phrasing, have them sing out loud and see where they run out of air. We don’t require breath to make sound at the piano (like singers or wind instruments do). But when we lift and take breaths in our phrasing, it sounds so much better.

So today, you just have one word to remember – Breathe. Have a great teaching Tuesday!

Author: Whitney

Whitney Hawker, NCTM, teaches group and private piano at Weber State University, Utah. She loves surprising students with the perfect piece or a new exciting game! After graduate school, she missed sharing ideas and resources daily with colleagues so she and her friend, Spring, began blogging together at