How do I get my child to practice the piano?
Tammie's Music Studio located in Mesa, AZ has been teaching students to play the piano since 1991. Teaching students of all ages, as young as three years old, to realize their potential. Many parents struggle with the same question through, "how do I get my child to practice? They don't want to when I ask them to practice.". Like all other skills that you would like to excel at, such as sports, scholastics, dance etc., it takes practice to help make you better. Having your weekly lessons will help you improve but it will not be enough without the daily practice that should be happening.
Making practice a part of your daily routine.
When your child first starts taking lessons they are very excited to learn and it is easy for them to practice. As time goes on and the music gets harder there will be times when your child doesn't wish to practice, that doesn't mean that you should give up. Usually there will be ups and downs as new techniques click with your child. One of the best ways to deal with practice is just making it a part of your daily routine, just as chores, school, homework and other activities have their place and time in the day. This makes getting in the practice a little easier for both you and your child. You will also see the fruit of daily practice as well, as they start to advance at a more rapid pace and master those new techniques that was making them not want to practice.
Making practice fun.
Tammie believes that, "playing music is one of the good things in life". With that mind-set she wants every student to enjoy learning to play the piano. Every lesson includes, theory, technique, and classical studies to insure that students are getting a great education that they can carry with them to pursue whatever path they wish. She also customizes lessons to include what the student is interested in learning, whether it is pop, blues, jazz or rock. Letting students pick some of their music that they practice during the week helps keep students motivated and looking forward to the next piece of music they are wanting to learn how to play.
How long should practice be?
There is no set time on how long a student should be practicing. Obviously the more you practice the more improvements you will see at a faster rate. There are many factors though to take into consideration: how old is the student? What skill level is the student at? Are they beginners or advance students? What is the goal of the student?
Don’t overdo it…. Having your 4 year old child for 30 min a day might be too much for them and it will leave them not wanting to practice. Having a student practice each piece of music they are assigned each week will be a good amount of practicing. You might notice that it doesn’t take long for a young beginner to finish their pieces, that’s ok, the songs aren’t long. As they progress in their skill and the older they get the longer the music will be and you will see that it takes longer to get through their assigned pieces.
The importance of practice.
Learning to play the piano is a true gift, not only to yourself but to all the people that hear you play. But like any other ability, the only way that you will grow and play well is if you practice. During the course of your practice you will notice yourself or your child's abilities growing and things that were once hard is completed without much effort. Some of the benefits of practicing on a regular basis are as follows:
Faster Growth - the more you practice the faster you will be moving and completing pieces of music.
Sight Reading - the more music you play, the more you practice, you will notice that your brain starts seeing the music faster and your fingers are playing notes that you aren't having to painstakingly try and figure out note by note, like you did when you were first learning to play.
Muscle Memory - sometimes when you have practiced a piece of music a lot you'll begin to notice that your fingers are practically moving on their own. You might not even realize where you are on the sheet of music in front of you. That is because with repetitious practice your muscles start automatically moving in what you had repeatedly been doing. This is how you will memorize music.
Ear Training - As you continue to practice you will notice that you expect to hear a certain sound when you are about to play a note. If you hear something that you did not expect you check to make sure your fingers pressed the right key. This is because you have practiced enough that your brain is making connections on what a note will sound like even if you don't realize your ear has gotten better.
The benefits of continued practice.
Some students decide that they wish to come back to lessons after taking few years off. Without the continued practice unfortunately they are not at the same level that they took off at. Other parents keep their children in piano lessons even through the tough times when learning a certain technique is tricky and their children are passionate about music again. Many adults who had some lessons as a child but quit when "they weren't having fun" regret it and wished that they had continued and can only imagine how great they would have been if they had only kept going.
It's ok that your child does not always like to practice the piano. They will thank you for it later in life, that you had given them the gift to be able to learn to play the piano. Many of Tammie's students who have studied to play the piano have put their skills to use studying music in college, competing, talent contests, church bands and performing in various ways. In the end it's ok to not always enjoy doing the work (practicing), but you shouldn't give up because you will miss out on enjoying the skill that you have already put so much effort into.