“I Teach People, Not Pianos”

Nick Ambrosino

88+ Ways Music Can Change Your Life, published by Keep Music Alive, is a compilation of  over 150 inspirational stories & quotes from musicians, music educators and music lovers from all over the world. Included are a number of stories from Grammy winning and Platinum selling artists & composers.  The authors have given Music In A Word permission to post contributions to the book from time to time and we are thrilled to present one below.


Once, when I went golfing as a single, I was asked by the gentleman with whom I had been paired, what I did for a living. I replied, “I’m an educator.” He continued, “What do you teach?” Feeling a bit spunky, I said, “People.” He chuckled and further questioned, “What subject?” I responded, “Music.” “Oh, what instrument?” he asked. “Piano.” “Oh, so you’re a piano teacher,” was his final comment.

“No,” I continued. “Saying I’m a ‘piano teacher’ implies that I teach pianos, Pianos are perfectly fine being pianos without my assistance. I assist people in growing as people, through the language of music, at the piano.”

I am so fortunate, as a music teacher, to have the incredible opportunity to impact a child, not just as a developing musician, but more importantly as a developing person. This is because the study of an instrument puts us up against learning challenges that have little to do with music, and much more to do with how each of us learn. I have the unique privilege to provide my students with skills that will enable them to achieve all that they desire, both musically and personally.

Through the study of music, we have the opportunity to provide our students with the problem solving skills that will enable them to achieve anything. They must learn how to handle frustration – what better time than when they are young, since frustration is an inevitable part of the human learning experience? They must learn how to create consistent goals that enable them to experience the feeling of fulfillment and pride, which are the ultimate motivators. Greater than any external trophies, these internal rewards of fulfillment and pride have the ability to propel our students to great levels of success. They must learn how to manage their own negative self-talk. We have the amazing opportunity to show them how. Once they believe in themselves, a student will fulfill their greatest potential; not just as a musician, but as a person.

Reprinted by permission from Keep Music Alive Publishing – Copyright 2015

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50% of the proceeds from all book and ebook sales of “88+ Ways…” will be donated to foundations providing music instruments and lessons to schools and communities in need.

88+ Ways Music Can Change Your Life




Nick Ambrosino of Nesconset, New York is a Learning Specialist, Author & Speaker.  He is the Author of “Coffee with Ray” and “Lessons with Matt.”
Nick’s web site
Music Simply Music, Nick’s music education company



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