Don't judge me.
There have been students in the past that I haven't exactly "connected" with.
You know, that one student who doesn't seem to get all of your incredibly brilliant jokes. Or that student that pouts and rolls their eyes during your lesson, setting your teeth on edge.
Let's face it. There are times when you have a student that you don't particularly like.
And, I have some bad news that might even sound a bit harsh. You will have some students that don't particularly like YOU.
Now that we've got the bad news out of the way, let's talk just be honest about what YOUR role is in the piano teacher/piano student relationship.
Piano lessons are, on some level, rapport driven. Think of a doctor who has little to no "bedside manner". You may appreciate his skill, but you don't really like him. So, you may have him do your complicated orthoscopic surgery, but you wouldn't necessarily recommend him to your friend who just has a sore foot.
Piano teachers are the same way. Your clients may value you for your skill, but they also want to like you. They want to look forward to seeing you and working with you each week. After all, they are giving you permission to essentially tell them what they are doing wrong and doing right each lesson, so wouldn't all of that information be better coming from someone they like?
So, here's how you increase your likeability: like them back. Remember your mom's advice when you were a kid? If you want to have a friend, be a friend.
If you want your students to like you, like them back. Show genuine interest in them. Look forward to seeing them each week.
I know they are your clients, but see them beyond a lesson fee or a tuition check. See them as mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters - people just like you, with the same types of concerns you have.
Find out what those concerns are. Find out what makes them happy.
Little things like knowing a beloved pet just died or that someone just earned a promotion at work make such a difference in the rapport you have with your students. But you can't know these things unless you ask. Unless you friend request them on Facebook. Unless you return phone calls and texts.
And remember, this must be genuine. I'm not talking about a "fake" interest in order to "seem" caring. Trust me, your students will see right through that.
Nope, I'm talking about genuinely caring for your students. I'm talking about thinking about them and caring for them and inquiring as to how they are really doing.
Of course, you are managing your lesson time wisely and working toward an efficient and thorough lesson, but genuinely caring for your student takes little time and goes a long way.
So, how to get your students to like you? Like them first. Care about them first.
Trust me, you'll be glad you did.