6 Ways Parents Can Help Their Child Practice Piano
If you found this post, most likely you signed your child up for piano lessons (or are thinking about it) and want to know how you can help your child practice piano at home.
If that's the case, this is the post for you!
Home practice is critical for the development of a budding musician. Unlike other extracurricular activities where the learning and the practicing occur at the event, learning to play the piano requires consistent home practice. The weekly lesson serves as the check-in point.
My lessons always include a review of old material, the learning of new concepts, and then practicing those new concepts inside a piece of music. I prepare my students for home practice by teaching them how to practice, giving them specific tips for their assignments, and establishing specific weekly goals.
Over my years of teaching, I've had this question asked of me by the occasional parent of my students. If one parent has this question, I figured others might have it as well. If you want your child to make musical progress, helping them practice is the best thing you can do for them!
With that in mind, I've compiled 6 ways parents can help their child practice piano.
Prepare the Environment
1. Gather all necessary materials in the same place.
Store their lesson books, pencil, metronome, and lesson notes near the piano. If your child studies with me, have a dedicated device for your child's practice sessions so they can use the Practice Space App, which serves as a lesson assignment notebook and practice record keeper.
2. Create a quiet-ish environment for distraction-free practice sessions.
The home doesn't need to be completely devoid of sound. However, practicing in the same room with a blaring TV can be challenging. Try to have your instrument in a room where daily dedicated practice and concentration can occur.
Without being a helicopter parent, from the corner of your eye occasionally observe your younger child playing the piano. Check to see if they are sitting at the piano with proper positioning and playing with curved fingers. Gently remind them to make any needed corrections so they don't form any bad habits away from their lesson time.
Prepare the Mind
3. Develop a practice plan.
Help your younger students find and mark the assigned pages to practice so they can easily find their assignments.
Early intermediate students might need your help creating a practice plan for the week. (A practice plan creates bite-sized daily goals that help the student accomplish the large weekly goals.)
Advanced students might need your listening ear for feedback on their playing or emotional encouragement when difficult passages feel insurmountable. For more advanced students, have them create a practice plan for the week, mapping out what they will practice each day to reach their weekly goals.
4. Help your child find a consistent time in the day to practice.
Thinking about "habit stacking" your child's practice time. Think of an activity they do everyday and peg their practice time to that activity. Perhaps, after school immediately after their snack is the best time to practice. Or maybe it is while you are cooking dinner, after dinner, or after their homework is complete. For motivation, try utilizing a practice chart. If they are in my studio, use the Practice Space App to track their practice, earn rewards, and try to reach the top of the leaderboard. More advanced students might find benefit is making using of a practice log where they track their progress and notate what did and didn't work in their practice session.
Prepare the Heart
5. Be an occasional observer and encourager of your child's musical growth.
Ask your child to play their lesson assignment for you. Be genuinely curious about what they are learning and how they are progressing. Ask them about their favorite songs or about what they currently find challenging. These questions encourage students of any age.
6. Be a consumer of music at home.
Listen to it all! From classical to rock, jazz to funk. Develop a love for music in the home. Listen to music in the car, in the kitchen, and while doing chores. Throw dance parties to pop music AND classical music. Attend concerts of all kinds; free Summer bandstand concerts as well as classical performances.
Let Your Child Lead the Way
As a parent, if you are wondering how you will find the time to assist your student practice, as a mother of six I intimately know the struggle! Parents juggle a myriad of responsibilities.
Please remember that it is not your work to convince your child to practice. In fact, depending on the age of the student, it is preferable that your child be motivated on their own. When they follow up with practicing on their own they grow in their confidence to keep their commitments, in pride of their accomplishments, and in their sense of self-trust. However, by following these suggestions you will have created an environment in which your child will be set up for success.
If you came across this article and are looking for an online piano teacher, contact me to schedule a Free Discovery Call to see if I would be a good fit for you!