Remember when your children learned to brush their teeth? Or tie their shoes? In order to learn a new skill, they had to practice! Learning piano is unlike learning a sport or a dance routine; there is no coach, no team to cheer you on as you practice. You are on your own. Your teacher gives you guidance at your lesson, then it is up to the student to follow through. Piano is not a team sport (unless you are learning a duet or trio) and requires a certain degree of independence and discipline. But, with the proper home support, your child can learn to play and will have fun.
Establish a practice routine – Choose a time every day that you and your child can commit to. Granted, this time may change from day to day depending on after school activities, but if he practices every Monday @ 5pm, every Tuesday @ 4 pm, etc. you are helping your child establish a routine. Practice can be as short as 10 minutes to as long as an hour, depending on the student’s level.
Review the assignment with your student – Make sure your student understands the assignment and ask the teacher if anything isn’t clear!
Be the student! – Point to the symbols in the music and ask your child to explain them, ask her to play certain portions of the piece, ask her to play the piece slowly, then fast, then loudly, then softly, etc. This will help your child reinforce her knowledge of the music. And he might enjoy being the teacher!
Record their favorite piece(s) – When your child has a piece he or she really loves, make an audio or a video! Send it to friends and family! Children love complements and they will be inspired to keep practicing and sharing their music.
Give lots of praise- Learning how to play the piano is hard. The more praise he or she hears, the harder she will practice and the more accomplished she will become. Be positive!
Many thanks to Nicola Cantan of Vibrant Music Teachers www.vibrantmusicteachers.com and www.colorfulkeys.com for her help in putting this guide together.