Chapter 7 – Putting It All Together (and a Final Reflection)

How to talk...Louise Goss once said, “(I hope) everybody would begin to grasp this notion that it’s the child first, music second, and only third is the piano.”

“How To Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk” serves as a powerful reminder that we are teaching the child first.  It explains how to do this better, and why this is so important.

From the authors:  “Just by reading this book you’ve asked a great deal of yourself.  There have been new principles to absorb, new skills to put into practice, new patterns to learn, and old patterns to unlearn.  With so much to sort out and make your own, it’s sometimes hard not to lose sight of the larger picture.  So once again, for the last time, let’s take a look at what this method of communication is all about.”


Practicing the skills in this book will help us to:

  • improve our communication with children (and adults, too!)
  • eliminate blame
  • develop greater sensitivity towards others’ emotions
  • express our negative feelings genuinely, yet constructively
  • respect the needs of our students
  • respect our own needs
  • find ways for children to become independent, empathetic, and responsible


I have found that reading the book little by little over a longer period has allowed me time to absorb and process the principles presented in each chapter. But, it does take practice to think on our feet and implement these strategies in real time. The authors describe using role-playing in their workshops with parents.  Acting out scenarios with our colleagues could be such a valuable way for us to practice these strategies in the context of piano lessons. Watching video of our own teaching, or even just writing a brief reflection after a lesson, could be other ways to become more fluent with incorporating these strategies in our teaching.


How has this book affected your teaching?  Would you recommend it to others?  I look forward to your feedback in the comments section.  Thanks for reading along!

2 thoughts on “Chapter 7 – Putting It All Together (and a Final Reflection)

  1. This is one of the best books I ever read and has many applications both as a teacher and as a parent. We are all “works in progress” but I have to say that a recent event made me want to delve deeper into the book:
    I’ve had a class with some real behavior issues. I didn’t want the class to be “not fun” and to be a drill sergeant, but I certainly didn’t want to be ineffective and have poor classroom management skills! Last Wednesday, (though the book doesn’t specifically recommend this, I thought the authors might approve…) I started out the class by saying, “Have any of you ever had the urge to do something you shouldn’t in a group class, either at school or in piano class?” Several hands went up. Then I shared the story about how I was in college and I had the urge to talk to my neighbor during chorus rehearsal and how I got “in trouble.” I then said, “If you have that urge but then you stop yourself, give yourself a big pat on the back.” Throughout the class, the boy who had the most serious behavior issues was praised quickly whenever he followed the group plan and I said to him, “Give yourself a pat on the back!” When he was disruptive, I said, “Do you think you’ll be able to stop yourself from (listed specific behavior) or are you going to need to go the waiting room to get yourself together?” He said, “I’ll stop!” When I reported the improved behavior to his dad, he jumped around the waiting room, exclaiming, “I was good! I was good!” My co-teachers agreed that this was, by far, the most productive and fun class we’ve had so far. I really love this book and will keep it close by from now on!

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