My guiding principle with adults is that the teaching structure must be flexible enough to take in to account not only the student’s skill level, but his/her available practice time.
Advanced students will choose from some form of technique such as Czerny, Cramer, Moszkovski, or even Chopin. We will also choose compositions from the Baroque, Classical, Romantic or Contemporary period. Although many teachers do not like to include “lighter” music, i.e. ragtime, jazz, blues, and show tunes, I feel that they help teach syncopated rhythms in a very enjoyable way. If the student has a particular piece in mind I am happy to incorporate that composition into our lessons.
Intermediate students will be introduced to the classics through minuets, waltzes, sonatinas and of course, Fur Elise by Beethoven! We will also include ragtime and jazzy pieces.As for Beginners, I like to use various method books such as Bastien, Alfred, Faber and Glover. It really depends on the individual’s needs.
I also feel it is extremely important to learn to sight read and transpose. This can and should be taught almost immediately. The easier it is to read music, the more motivated you will be to learn new music!
Another area that is very important to include in a lesson is music theory. This is especially important if you are a beginner or intermediate student. It is much easier to learn a piece if you understand how it is composed.