September is that time when fall is in full swing and routines are starting to take shape. Fall is a great time to reevaluate your routines and set up new healthier routines that lead to better habits before the holidays take over. Take the opportunity to help your child set new goals for piano study and guarantee success. Here are 5 easy hacks to hit the refresh button on a stale practise routine.
- Reevaluate your objective: Help your child define the answer to “why do I play piano? ” I do this with all my students at the beginning of each year. It’s a powerful way to get the big picture perspective for parents, students and teacher. It helps all parties set their goals and expectations from the get go.When things are tough and motivation is low it’s a great question to ask to bring back that passion and spark to practise.
- 2. To increase efficiency and make sure your child stays focused on a task sit with your child and break down the weekly goals from your teachers notes (almost all teachers give out some version of this) into daily chunks to be achieved with each practise. Eg. Weekly goal: practise Right hand A Section for piece x. Break a 16 bar Section into 4, 4 bars section for each day. Start day 1 by listening and reading the piece, clap rhythm etc. By doing this they would have learned goal setting and task management! (Oh the wonderful side benefits of the music lesson!)
- Teach your child accountability: Depending on a child’s age parent’s involvement in practise will be different. For younger learners age (3-7)
You would have to sit in and work through every detail without taking over the practise but assisting with difficulty.
Ages 8-11 help build independence. Parents should be aware of practise expectations and be familiar with each item to be practised. Remind your child of practise time and expectations and sitting in occasionally on practise and lesson.
Age 11+ students should be independent in their work parents should assist with providing support and feedback. You are the driver, the cheerleader and the councillor. Encourage your child to communicate directly with their teacher as difficulty arises.
- Focus on results and effort not time spent. While it’s good to have a set schedule and time for piano practise I tend to like the approach: practise until you have mastered your set daily goal versus practise for half an hour. You are teaching your child invaluable work ethics along the way.
Increase efficiency by breaking down weekly goal into daily goals. Piano practise at a young age can be daunting mainly because parents yell out “piano practise for 20 min go now! ” The child is now faced with sitting at the piano not sure what to do. This becomes an inefficient and lonely experience.
- It can be lonely at the piano. The highly demanding nature of piano playing coupled with the fact that it’s a solo instrument make the experience extremely lonely. Piano players practise alone, go to lessons alone and perform alone for the most part. Make it fun by giving your child a chance to perform for the family. By being their cheerleader and giving them the ability to showcase their hard work . Be enthusiastic and give lots of praise. Imagine a child involved in sports and the positive reinforcement they get after each game. It’s very important to give your child the opportunity to express themselves and make them feel accomplished.