Teaching anything to kids is a challenge and you usually need exciting resources whether it is teaching a language, some literature, or playing an instrument. You need to try and adopt some different ways to keep the lessons a fun thing for them. The moment it becomes dull or boring, you might find that your child might be no longer interested in these lessons.
Teaching music to your child is both an important and daunting task. After carefully weighing the options for the instrument and teacher, then comes the practice routine. He daily grinds of begging, bribing, and tears can wear on many parents’ resolve to keep their children immersed in music. So the question of how to get your child to practice piano without tears or fights arises!
Now while the answer is not that simple, there are certain things you can follow to ensure that your child remains interested and enthusiastic about their lessons, and to make sure you are getting the most out of this journey.
Oftentimes, parents might resort to the same methods that their parents used to “encourage” them to practice but these failed attempts from their own childhood will propagate the same cycle. Let’s ensure your child’s happiness and interest in the wonderful subject of music. So to make everyone’s lives easier, here is a list of Do’s and Don’ts for starting your child on piano lessons!
Do Be Enthusiastic and Engaged
Join your child in their lessons at least once a week. Review the expectations and talk to your child about their feelings towards practice and their goals. Get excited with your child as they reach different milestones and master various pieces. Make sure they receive gratification and praise every time they complete a practice or goal without complaint.
Do Lead by Example
If you yourself play the instrument (or any instrument) encourage your child by practicing with them. Show them that even when you “know” what you are doing, we still need practice. Let them see you enjoying your own practice time so they are inspired to do the same for their own.
Do Find a Bench That Works for Them
For your child beginning to play the piano, you must make sure that he is properly positioned. He should be able to reach the piano with his hands comfortably without the risk of straining himself or injuring himself. You should also work on maintaining a proper posture of your child’s body throughout the sessions of learning.
A good piano bench makes all these things easy to accomplish. You can read more about all the things you should consider before investing in one, this article from GiftWits is a good resource for finding the right piano bench.
Do Make Practice Time a Part of Everyday Routine
Try to ensure that your child sees practice time as ritual and normal. Making practice a part of the daily routine will build a positive habit that is hard to break. Daily practice should be as much a part of your routine as a meal.
Try to find a time that works best for you and your child, and this might not always be after school, as your child can be tired or cranky at that time. Some children might benefit from morning classes, as this is also the time when their mind is at their sharpest. Alternatively, you use practice as an unwinding time before bedtime.
Do Find the Right Piano Teacher for Your Child
Finding the right piano teacher is crucial. Your son or daughter must be able to connect with their teacher because no matter how accomplished the teacher might be if the fit is not right, the lessons might not work out. Listen carefully when your child talks about their teacher and pay attention for any signs suggesting that they don’t gel well.
Trial lessons can be helpful, but these only provide a first impression. If the trial goes well, keep monitoring your child’s attitude in the following lessons. Don’t hesitate to switch teachers if the chemistry isn’t right because let’s face it; neither your child nor the teacher will enjoy or benefit from the time spent on the lessons if they don’t connect.
Don’t Feel Bad about Using Bribes
If you are above bribery, then maybe you haven’t been a parent for very long! Creating a reward system for practice time and their various achievements will allow your child to track their own progress. Additionally, it will help them strive for more as children are well motivated by things and experiences they love. Don’t be above bribery to get your child on the right track!
Don’t Make Deals for Practice Time
Children will often try to “bargain” away their piano practice time if you let them. There will be many times where you will hear “I will practice tomorrow!” only for tomorrow to come and the deal to be forgotten. Besides, it is much better to study in steady, even increments daily rather than large spurts will days in between. Allowing negotiations gives the children the idea that deals can be a regular thing and you might have to deal with this more often in the long term.
Don’t Be Afraid to Get Creative When Motivating Your Student
Include “games” into practice time if you wish to make it more appealing. Set 5-10 pennies, M&Ms, or other things they prefer to the side. Each time a goal is met, you can reward them! You can look up other piano practice games, there are quite a few!
Don’t Plan Long Stretched Sessions for Lessons
Kids do well sitting with a piano learning session for half an hour, but you can’t expect them to be sitting there for the whole time. You should let them move around. You can even plan some movement activities in order to teach them different concepts of piano playing. Make it an interesting and joyful experience for them!
Teaching piano lessons to kids might seem like a lot of work but provided you follow all the basic tips, your kids should make good progress. Remember that all kids are different and you might have to experiment with a few methods before finding the ones that work. Be sure to keep the make sure that the goal is to have a good time, and instilling in your child a lifelong love for music!
Image Credits: Clark Young