What You can do as a Parent
Learning the piano is a long term process that builds from week to week. Missing even one lesson can have long lasting effects, especially in a group setting. To help ensure success, make sure your child can get to each and every lesson. Make sure our weekly meetings are in your calendar to avoid any conflicts with other engagements or social activities.
When choosing your group lesson time, make sure that your child can arrive ON TIME. This is especially important with group lessons because our activities are quickly paced and designed to teach important concepts in their lesson books.
Nothing is more important to success than a consistent practice regimen, and you are an important part in helping your child begin and maintain healthy practice habits. Check our minimum practice suggestions and monitor your child’s practice habits. When possible, monitor your child while they practice. You don’t have to be in the room with them. Just keep an ear open while they practice. If you hear lots of “dead time” walk through to check on them. Sometimes they might be working on theory homework or other “off the bench” activities. Also when you listen, remember the golden rule of practicing. “Practice means REPEATING SECTION CORRECTLY.” That means to repeat small sections of music correctly several times – not just going from the beginning to the end, or just playing a section correctly one time.
When you can’t be there to monitor their practice, ask to hear some of their music when you can be there. Maybe schedule a pre-dinner mini-concert to hear what they worked on that day. Encourage all improvements.
This goes hand-in-hand with monitoring practice. To build strong practice habits, it may be necessary to help your child schedule a specific portion of the day to practice. Tie practice to some other daily activity. For example, your child always practices after their afternoon snack when returning from school, or in the morning before breakfast.
Create a great practice environment
It’s important that your child can focus and concentrate while practicing. Try to arrange the practice environment to avoid competing stimuli. That might mean turning the television or radio down during practice times, taking a phone conversation into a different room, or helping siblings understand the importance of the daily practice time.
It takes time to learn the piano, and it can sometimes feel like progress is slow. Make sure to take time to praise every achievement, no matter how small. But remember, sometimes it takes encouragement for a child to reach for a higher standard in performance. It’s okay to offer some constructive criticism, but make sure to precede that criticism with an honest assessment of what is going well. For example, “Wow, Alison, you really look like you’re having fun at the piano. Your song sounds so energetic! There were a few spots where you stopped to figure out a note, but I’m sure you can practice that section to make it sound as good as the beginning.”
If you have questions, please feel free to contact us between lessons. We’re happy to offer suggestions or to clarify assignments. We also like to hear what your child thinks about our weekly time together. Is there a particular activity that they really enjoy, or perhaps a concept that they seem to struggle with? Let us know, and we are happy to adjust our lesson plans.
Now that you know the parent’s role, read the student’s role in promoting success.