One parent/caregiver must attend beginning lessons for all new students or for returning students younger than 10 years old for the first month. You will be the biggest cheerleader for practice in your child’s life: knowing exactly what is expected will assist you in motivating your child. Most students start off with much enthusiasm and vigor to practice. This can wane as the practice becomes more difficult and schedules get busy. I will do as much as I can to instill enthusiasm in practicing during lessons, but it is up to the parent at home to encourage the practice is takes to overcome any inertia that might prevent musical development. There is much you can do as a parent to encourage your child to develop good piano practice habits.
How to develop good piano practice habits:
- Schedule practice time for your child in your home. Actually notate it on calendar.
- Supervise the first home practice sessions for younger children. For older children, check in from time to time with your child during a practice once a week and ask to hear a song from the assignment page.
- Keep track of practices in the binder that is provided at lessons.
- Provide feedback and suggestions for me that might increase the effectiveness of each lesson. Written notes in the assignment book or email are the quickest way to do so as there is little time between lessons for conversation with parents. Texting is another good way to connect with me. Phone calls are always welcome. If not sent to me before 3pm on any given day, there is a good chance I will not see messages until after last lesson of the day as my phone is silenced for lessons.
- Please ensure that your child arrives at their lesson at the appropriate time.
Ideas to foster musical development outside of piano practice:
- Attend live concerts, church or temple services, musicals, school music concerts.
- Listen to various genre of music from different eras and facilitate a discussion about how the music makes one feel. Was there an emotional response?
- Make a home kitchen band with items that are recycled: cans, larger plastic bottles, buckets. Use chopsticks to play echo rhythms with one another, using a steady beat as much as possible.
- Listen to specific artists or musicals on television and You Tube.
- Ask grandparents about the music they listened to growing up.
- Support your local school’s music specialist by asking if there is something you can do for the class or teacher to support program work in and out of the classroom. Show your student you are interested in all their music making.
Piano student resources
- www.naxos.com/education/glossary.asp for musical terminology
- www.blanksheetmusic.net for printable manuscript paper
- http://www.makingmusicfun.net/ for ages 5-10 for games
- www.classicsforkids.com for all ages; games, creating music, composers
- www.sheetmusicplus.com for all ages; music to purchase
The Parent’s Guide to Effective Practicing by Nancy O’Neill Breth, Hal Leonard Publishing Co.
Practicing the Piano – How Students, Parents and Teachers Can Make Practicing More Effective by Nancy Breth