It’s All About Practice!

Explanation and Guidelines for Parents

The right approach

In order for your child to progress satisfactorily with his or her piano study, it is absolutely essential that piano practice be treated in the same way as schoolwork and homework. It is a task which must be performed on a daily basis in order to master the material; it is not an occasional recreational activity.

 

The challenge

Playing the piano is a highly complex mental and physical skill involving feats of digital gymnastics—roughly the equivalent of reading two different sentences simultaneously and writing one with each hand!—while processing elements of mathematics and hieroglyphics. Occasionally, it involves the use of the right foot operating the pedal, and hopefully engages the ears to listen for the effect.

While it doesn’t require hours of daily practice to develop into a competent player, it does require a regular commitment of time and effort.

 

Parent-teacher partnership toward your child’s success

The tips and guidelines below will help you support your child as they learn to play the piano. Although these don’t guarantee miracles, I feel confident that improvement will become noticeable within a short time. By working together, we can help your child succeed in his or her piano study and achieve the ultimate reward: a lifelong enjoyment of music.

Practice Guidelines

How many days a week should my child practice?

For good to excellent progress: 5-6 days a week.

How can I help my child succeed?

Make time for practice
Be sure there is time in your child’s schedule for a sufficient commitment to piano practice. If he or she is involved six days a week in three different sports it is almost a “given” that piano lessons won’t “take”.
Make the piano accessible
Provide the best instrument you can afford and decide on a good location for it: not in the center of traffic, but not in the far corner of the basement.
Establish a routine
Help your child establish a routine for piano practice:

  1. after school, before dinner and homework.
  2. before school, if your child is a “morning person” or on a late school schedule.

Review the weekly assignment sheet
Students come home with customized instructions in a binder for practice at home. Be aware of what is on the assignment sheet and check to make sure instructions are being carried out. Your child may be playing the piano every day, but that does not necessarily mean he or she is practicing the assignment and/or following instructions. Please always phone or send me an email if you have questions about anything on the assignment.
Supervise young learners
If your child is nine years of age or younger it is essential for a parent to make a commitment to sit with him or her to supervise the practice sessions.
Daily practice is key
Insist that your child practice every day. Don’t accept “I don’t want to!” or “It’s hard!” as reasons to opt out of practicing – any more than you would accept them as reasons to opt out of homework.
Nurture patience and grit
Don’t panic (or give in to demands to quit) if he or she becomes frustrated. Try to make the point that anything worth learning is likely to be difficult at first. Learning to ride a two-wheeled bike is one of many examples! It’s important to keep trying and not give up. I often refer to the magic three-letter word: “Try!”
Be supportive
Encourage his or her efforts. Make a point of saying you like what you’re hearing.
Expect progress
Expect your child to make progress! Always feel free to call or email me with questions or ask for a progress report.