Here are ten things you can do to help your child with piano lessons. You can’t just sit back and expect the teacher to do it all, you have to help.
Find the right piano teacher. If your child has a teacher they do not like, find another that they do like.
The piano is too difficult to learn without an entirely sympathetic guide.
Observe your children’s reaction to the work the piano teacher gives your child. If they do not go to the piano during the week to tinker and noodle with a song, something is wrong.
A child need not practice a set amount, but rather should be intellectually curious about the piano. A lack of interest signals a teacher problem.
If you trust the piano teacher enough to teach your child, you’ll have to trust the child to do the work. Don’t nag and get in between the child and the teacher. Observe, but don’t comment unless you are praising an effort of your child.
Make the piano a nice place to visit in your home. If it is in a high traffic area, consider getting an inexpensive electronic keyboard for your child that can be put in their bedroom.
Get involved as a listener. A child sees themselves at the piano as a reflection of their teacher’s (and listener’s) attitude toward their playing. Given how difficult it is to play the piano, you should genuinely praise and happily watch your child play ANYTHING.
If you want the ultimate fire lit under your child’s enthusiasm for the piano, start playing yourself. The instant a child sees you wrestling with the same problems, there will be a rise in their interest. I have found many children who start to teach their parents piano, silly as that seems, largely as proof of their self-esteem in understanding anything so very complicated. Giving children an opportunity to display their accomplishment at the piano is part of the recipe for success.
Forget your experience at the piano as a child, good or bad. If you choose the right teacher, the odds are that your child will develop an interest in music and the piano.
If you’ve chosen the wrong teacher, listen to your child. Quit, take a break, and then maybe try again. If your child hates the lessons, stop the lessons.
Try to realize that there is no quick method to mastery at the piano. There are ways to make the mysteries more understandable, but ultimately playing the piano requires a “knack” that not everyone has, or can develop. Not everyone has the patience to wait and work until it such mastery is developed. With this in mind, you’ll see how small the steps are that a child takes to control the piano. Be patient.
Never look at another child’s accomplishment at the piano and openly compare it to your child’s without considering all the factors that may go into such accomplishment. It is crucial to remember that every child is at a different and unique point in their piano playing abilities, every day, and many of these skills are genetically and age-related.
You must shield your child from such comparisons until they have had a chance to develop their own skills in their own way, on their own schedule. This is why piano recitals are poisonous to children.
Here are two more points to help your child:
The piano lesson, properly done, is a perfect forum for a child to learn the lesson that: you are allowed to try to learn something, fail miserably in a friendly environment, and rise to try again. It is the trying again and again that is the real “lesson” of piano lessons for most kids.
He who learns how to happily fail and repeat shall learn the piano.
Copyright 2010 Walden Pond Press
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