PRACTICING- Even if your child is a 3 year old beginner, it’s important to encourage practicing/playing at home. Of course this will not happen overnight, it may very well take months to establish a good practice routine where your child is comfortable playing/practicing at home. It’s best to try and encourage your child to practice/play their instrument everyday. For the young beginner, this might mean trying to sit with your child at the instrument for even just 5-10mins everyday (or most days) and asking them what songs they’re learning. The beginning pieces for young children are easy enough for the non-piano playing parent to understand and try and play with your child. Below are a couple activities you can do with your child at your instrument, these are activities that do not need any musical training at all by parents.
*THE COPY GAME- While sitting at the piano/keyboard with your child, play 2 or 3 consecutive notes in a row, then have your child try and copy you. Have them now play a few notes and you copy and play back. It’s a fun way to explore the sounds of the instrument while exercising the music muscle.
*THE STUDENT TEACHER- While getting your child to practice can often times seem like a chore, one way that can bring some fun to it is a bit of pretend/play. Try having your child pretend to be the “music teacher”. Have them try and show you how to play one of their songs, having them take pride in what they’ve learned and show to you is a great way to encourage playing at home.
*REWARDS- Often times having a reward when children play/practice can work in order to establish a practicing/playing routine at home. We often encourage a reward when a child completes our 30day practice challenge. Often in cases the challenge turns into a daily habit and students start to play everyday even after the challenge is up.
ENVIRONMENT- Providing a good environment for your child’s practicing/playing is essential. Make sure not only to have a proper keyboard or piano with a properly sized bench, but also a quiet room, good lighting and freedom from distractions such as television, radio and other people’s activities. Make sure other members of the family know and respect how important your child’s piano time is.
LISTEN to piano music! Playing piano music at home is so very important and an easy way to inspire and open up your child’s ears to piano music. Whether it’s the jazz stylings of Duke Ellington or Thelonius Monk, classical works by Bach and Mozart, classic pop/rock songs by Billy Joel or Bruce Hornsby, music from Hamilton, or even watching Youtube videos of young children playing “Twinkle Twinkle”, listening to music at home is a great way to help support lessons. Also, taking the time to go and see/hear live concerts is another great way to inspire.
DON’T GIVE UP- It can be hard to know how much to push with music lessons. You don’t want to have to force practicing and lessons on your children, but at the same time you don’t want to give up too soon just because your child is not practicing and playing at home regularly. How many adults have you heard say, “I wish I would have stuck with music lessons!”, maybe it was even you, but you stopped because you didn’t like to practice and then lessons didn’t seem worth it anymore. There is still a lot of value in taking lessons even if your child is not practicing regularly at home, practicing and playing at home will come with time.
If you considering private piano lessons for your little one, there is still time to hop into our fall lessons. Find more information about our lessons program here.
Happy Music Making!