Congratulations on your decision to provide your child with music lessons! There are many ways to help your child learn to play the piano, and have fun together as well.
If you were investing your money in the stock market, a piece of property or prize horses, you would watch and monitor your investment closely—and often. If not, you would certainly end up losing all the money you put into it.
By the same token, you are investing your money and time in music lessons, including an instrument for your child. So, it is just as advisable for you to oversee the lessons you are paying for.
You can help your child enjoy music lessons and progress easily and naturally—and protect your investment as well—by following a few simple guidelines.
Become involved in your child’s piano lessons. Talk with the teacher briefly after each lesson to hear what was covered and how you can assist your child during the week. If your child agrees, you may want to sit in on some of the lessons. Let the teacher know that you are willing to support his or her teaching.
Encourage your child often. Let your child know you are interested in what he is learning. Praise his efforts as well as accomplishments. Provide opportunities for him to perform in front of family and friends, but do not force him to perform. If he doesn’t want to, just let it drop.
Avoid negative criticism. We all respond better to thoughtful, constructive suggestions rather than criticism. Punishment, scolding or belittling is not a solution for any situation, especially if you want to help your child learn to play the piano, or any other school subject. Discuss with the teacher any frustration your child has with the lessons as it’s possible she doesn’t understand what the teacher is asking her to do. The teacher can then make sure that the child understands the lesson the next time.
Make sure your child practices regularly and follows the teacher’s instructions. Most children, including teens, are not disciplined enough to practice their lessons on their own. It is up to you to establish a regular practice routine, preferably at least five days a week.
Just as you probably set homework time, set a regular practice time, preferably when you are at home. When you’re not at home, it’s too easy practice MineCraft or other game than scales. If you work during the day, a good time for practicing is while you are making dinner. You can listen from the kitchen without being noticed. Or schedule it shortly after dinner before TV time or bath time. Before bed is usually not the best time because your child will probably be tired, and practicing could prevent her from falling asleep easily.
Never use piano lessons as punishment. Some parents threaten to cancel piano lessons as a punishment for poor grades or other behavioral problems. This may temporarily motivate a student to improve school grades, but not for long. If your child spends too much time “messing around” on the piano and not enough time on school work, set up a routine that includes (and limits, if necessary) playing the piano, doing homework and any other required activities.
Likewise, never punish your child for some other infraction by making him practice.
Listen to piano music together. Young children listen to preschool and kindergarten songs or their parents’ favorite songs, and usually it is vocal music. Some young children never hear the beauty and variety of piano music.
Start listening to piano music with your child It can be classical, but there are also some excellent jazz, pop, country, blues, gospel and other piano recordings available, either solo or accompanied by a band. Allow your child to hear different piano music to spark her imagination and keep her interest in playing the piano.
Have fun with apps and YouTube videos. There are many music and piano apps to identify notes on the staff and keys on the piano, or to improve your musical ear. These are fun and will help your child continue learning when not practicing. Play games with your child and encourage a sibling or grandparent to play, too.
Check out YouTube and online videos. Many videos teach viewers how to play a favorite song, others show exceptional students playing, and even animals playing.
Teach your child to set goals. Help your child set some reasonable goals to help keep her interest high. Look ahead in the method book and find a song that she finds interesting or that she knows. Use it as a goal to keep progressing till she is ready to play that song. When she can play it, reward her with a special treat.
These are just some of the ways to help your child learn to play the piano. Please share any other ways that you know of or have tried yourself.