My goal is to help my students ENJOY playing the piano. Hmm, what a concept! Obviously learning piano takes work, but I completely understand patience required and the frustration that often comes with learning the piano. So I try and teach patterns and principles that will get them to their goal faster and easier than otherwise. I want people to realize that they can see their own progress as they put the time and effort into it.
Believe it or not, I quit piano myself for 2 years in high school because I was so frustrated with my progress and didn't feel like my efforts were paying off much at all. I came to a point where I hated going to piano lessons just to be scolded for not doing what I didn't want to do. When I decided to start up again, I did things differently which made all the difference. I had a teacher that showed me how to productively sight read much better, and I could feel like I was actually making valuable progress again. I also creatively "opened my eyes" to whatever new things I could find whether they be visual, or through the sound, or anything else. "Whatever works" was my new effective motto. I know people learn differently, understand differently, and have different shaped hands, so I'm come to realize that it's essential being flexible to a certain degree because there are general principles, but everyone has to adjust to their own learning style and hands. So as I returned to the piano, the "proper technique" wasn't as important as the end goal of making it sound right with the "easiest" method.
I encourage my students to play songs that they enjoy because I want them to be able to play the songs that got them excited in the first place. So I encourage them to request arrangements from me.
My "new approach" set me free and allowed me to take advantage of the inherent motor skills and musical thoughts I already had. Usually younger students rely on muscle memory because they can memorize things quickly with their muscle memory. Adults tend to conceptually understand the bigger picture and are usually more responsible with planning and carrying out practice time. Whatever one is naturally good at, we take advantage of, and then try to strenghthen those things that one is not good at yet.
Over the years, I was eventually taught music theory how to sight read well which allows me to learn songs in only a fraction of the time as I got better and better at sightreading. This motivated me to continue practicing to get better and better at sight reading so I would be more and more valuable to anyone needing a good piano player.
Before learning to sightread at age 16, I would struggle like everyone else, making the same mistakes at the same spots in my songs. I really couldn't sightread better than anyone before that. I always needed my teacher to remind me or write down notes and sharts and flats on my music. I was very dependent on my teacher until I learned how to be more self-sufficient where I could learn more on my own.
Since learning how to sight reading much better, I've been able to perform in countless venues such as accompanying singers and choirs, playing musical numbers and hymns in church and playing for Ballet and Modern Dance classes at Brigham Young University for 6 years where my sight reading and music theory skills was able to take off even further.
I'm all about simplicity and effective learning. I consolidate all my years of learning into a much more condensed, consolidated version of what I was taught, so my students technically have an advantage over me in that respect because they are being taught things in a more effective way that I never received. I had to find it all from various sources over years.
I believe I have a fairly unique approach in that I come from many different angle to try and help students reach their goal of playing what they really want to play. One of the best things about piano for me now is just the fact that I can do it well and enjoy it, and my goal is the same for my students.