“But I don’t play piano!” How any parent can enable effective practicing

Several parents have asked me recently how they can help their student get more out of piano lessons, especially if the parents have limited/no musical knowledge. This is a great question, and it shows that you, as a parent, are taking an active interest in your student’s music lessons. (And you should… You’re investing in them, after all!) Learning piano (or any instrument, really), involves more than just showing up for a weekly 30 minute lesson. In fact, most of the reinforcement of new concepts occurs during valuable practice time. This is why practice is so important, and why this is actually the area in which parents can make the biggest difference in how much their student benefits from piano lessons.

I’m sharing with you a list that the cool folks at teachpianotoday.com published in one of their blog posts. It’s a list of things any parent can do – musical background or not. Please feel free to discuss any of these with me at your student’s next lesson!

How I can Help My Child with Piano Lessons

How I can Help My Child with Piano Lessons


1.  Provide a good in-tune home instrument – Having a decent instrument at home is paramount to the success of your piano student’s lessons.  Without a way to properly practice at home, your child will feel inadequate come lesson time and will rapidly lose motivation and interest.

2.  Attend lessons regularly with all needed materials and a well-rested child – Regular attendance ensures that your child progresses. Progression leads to feelings of self-confidence and achievement.  Piano students need their books at every lesson as well as any other materials suggested by their teacher.  Keep books organized at home and teach your child learn to be responsible for their materials.

Children learn best when they are well-rested (not only in terms of sleep, but also in terms of “extracurricular over-load”) and when they are healthy.  Sick piano kids don’t retain very much… and result in sick piano teachers!

3.  Establish a consistent and daily practice routine – Piano lessons are one of the few extracurricular activities that require daily attention. Choose a specific time of day that works for your family (before school, after dinner, after the bath etc.) and make piano practice a regular and consistent event every single day.  Avoid times that are hectic or rushed, remove distractions (like the TV or smaller siblings) and try to be in the vicinity to offer encouragement and/or help with piano practice. ** I cannot emphasize enough how important this item is!! **

4.  Be Positive… provide constant encouragement – Comment often on your child’s progress.  Remember the names of the pieces they are working on and make requests as you go about your day to encourage regular visits to the piano.  Show your pride by sharing videos, photos or musical phone calls with friends and family. Help your child to identify themselves as a “pianist”.

5.  Stay involved!  Show that you value music by providing live-music opportunities, encouraging your child’s participation in recitals and performances and being a part of their daily practice in some way (even if it’s only as a happy listener). Seek out opportunities to involve music in your daily routines (some great ideas here!).

As we continue our Wild West practice incentive, students will be performing jobs that will involve other members of their family. Please help them to make these jobs fun and enable them to complete them!

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