People talk about different kinds of schools of pedagogy that exists today but I don't know if I have ever heard about different schools of piano pedagogy.

Are there different schools of piano pedagogy and if so, what are thy called?

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    I'm not a pianist but I've noticed that some teachers focus quite a bit on how to use arm weight to advantage and to minimize the chances of tendinitis. Also from observations made in recitals and concerts, I've seen that some pianists focus on a big crashy sound while some allow for a wide variety of timbres and dynamics. Another thing I would look for is which technical approaches are particularly helpful for small hands. A good pedagogical approach can accommodate large and small hands alike. (Analogy: Starker technique is especially helpful for cellists with small hands.) Aug 4, 2022 at 20:02

1 Answer 1


Contemporary teaching methods are so widely varied, that they aren't general talked about as "schools", though they are often descended from them — often several of them combined.

For some historical methods still present today in various forms, see What are the primary historical piano training methods, and what are their defining characteristics?.

Of the ones mentioned in that post, "The Russian School" is still propagated by students, or students of students, trained in that system. And the Suzuki Method is also a very specific pedagogical approach that has been applied to piano.

Contemporary teaching, in the U.S., at least, tends to center around "methods" — series of books that take students from beginning to intermediate or late intermediate levels. The attempt is to give a broad-based piano/music/music theory education in a systematic way. "Curriculum" might be a better word than "method", though they're referred to professionally as "method books".

  • John Thompson: One of the first method book series, it is still used, if less common than it once was.
  • Bastien: Guides students from fixed, five-finger hand positions to more complex technical demands. Places some focus on incorporating familiar songs.
  • Alfred: Divides up learning into various "tracks" that proceed at different paces according to the needs of the student. Like Bastien, takes a "five-finger position" approach but expands on the music theory content.
  • Faber Piano Adventures: Currently one of the (if not the) most popularly used methods.
  • The Music Tree: Progresses intervallically, teaching seconds, then thirds, etc. Focus on the visual/physical connection between note placement on the staff and the placement of the hands and use of fingers.

The above methods, especially the newer ones, will include jazz and popular music in the hopes of capturing students' interest, but they are not methods of teaching jazz or pop music, per se.

"The Taubman Approach": This might properly be called a "school" of piano pedagogy. It focuses on subtleties of technique to facilitate technical ease. One characteristic aspect is the use of hand movement toward and away from the fall board.

There are also numerous teaching methods that are not specific to piano but which individual teachers might incorporate into their teaching. For example, the Kodály Method and Dalcroze Eurythmics are music-teaching systems which have been incorporated into piano pedagogy.

  • Does the Suzuki method count for something? And is this assumed to be about classical piano? I really don't know about this stuff, I learned all I know about piano playing by sitting at the piano and starting to play. A friend of mine who was studying at the conservatory to become a teacher, once tried to give me a lesson... I didn't gain anything valuable from that. ;) Jul 30, 2022 at 15:10
  • @piiperiReinstateMonica since Suzuki is mentioned in the linked post, I thought to leave it off here. But it is very much current. I’ll rethink. I’m not aware of particular “schools” for jazz or pop piano, but the OP would seem to include them.
    – Aaron
    Jul 30, 2022 at 16:50
  • I tried to search for a "Berklee piano method" and yes, it does: online.berklee.edu/courses/berklee-keyboard-method
    – ojs
    Jul 30, 2022 at 16:57
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    Oh, it was in the question... I only looked at the answers. Anyway, aside from established music institutions, there seems to be a very real and popular "school" or "method" for piano playing: the Youtube keyboard animation method. Really! Particularly kids seem to love that stuff, and maybe adults too. It shows you what keys to press and when, to produce that song. Jul 30, 2022 at 16:57
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    @harryjansson The two terms are often used interchangeably, but "school" is a generally broader term. A school of teaching would incorporate a method, but a method of teaching could be just a single teacher's approach.
    – Aaron
    Jul 31, 2022 at 14:13

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