By Mitch Rice
Many parents start their children on piano lessons rightly assuming that it is good for cognitive development and builds an appreciation for the arts. What parents often don’t understand is that children don’t necessarily want to practice the piano. Countless parents have asked piano teachers “What can I do to get my child to practice?” There are a few key tactics that every parent can employ to encourage beginners to spend more time at the keyboard.
Hire the Right Teacher
Teachers connect with students in individual ways. It’s a good idea to try out a few different teachers before settling upon one. There are a number of methods for doing this, such as:
- Have a trial lesson. Many teachers offer an introductory lesson without requiring a commitment to sign up for a longer period of time. This gives them a chance to assess your child’s appropriateness for their studio. It also allows you to see if the teacher is a good match for your child. You should always pay for an introductory lesson. The fee may be reduced, but don’t expect a lesson for free.
- Ask if you can sit in on another student’s lesson. Some teachers allow prospective parents to observe them teach another student. This is more likely to happen if the student you are observing is already a friend of your family.
- Attend the teacher’s studio recital. These recitals are typically open to the public. You can learn a lot about a teacher’s methods by watching his or her students perform. Notice if they have the correct technique and appear confident playing before an audience.
If you start with one teacher and they don’t work out, feel free to try another. It’s very important that your child feels understood and supported by their piano teacher.
Have Sheet Music in Your Home
Of course, your child’s teacher will assign pieces at weekly lessons. However, it is also a great idea to have a selection of easy piano songs for beginners in your home that children can play whenever they want to play for fun. When there is a nice selection of genres on the piano music shelf, young pianists are more motivated to play. Your piano library can include the following:
- Songs from movies, such as “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” from Encanto and “Hedwig’s Theme” from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
- Classic pop and rock tunes like “Piano Man” by Billy Joel and “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen
- Christian favorites, including “The Lord’s Prayer” by Albert Hay Malotte and “Shine, Jesus Shine” by Graham Kendrick
- Classical piano pieces, such as Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” and “Jupiter” from Holst’s The Planets
You can also find folk music, country songs, and Broadway tunes. Whatever your young pianist likes, put it on the shelf.
Practice With Them
Students appreciate having a parent or other adult sit with them while they practice when they are very young. If your beginner is aged 5 to 10, plan on spending some of their practice time with them. You can sit beside them and listen while they play or simply sit somewhere in the room. Let the student decide. It is unrealistic to expect a child to practice independently until at least age 10 unless they are quite advanced for their age.
This doesn’t mean you must supervise and watch over every note. Often young children just like to feel they aren’t alone at the piano. Other children will ask for your help. Provide it when requested. Otherwise, you should sit quietly and enjoy listening.
Too many parents mistakenly think that practicing the piano is its own reward. This is true for advanced pianists, yes. In the beginning stages, however, it is quite difficult for students to see the benefits of practicing. Progress can be slow initially, especially if they are learning to read at the same time.
Young pianists respond spectacularly to a reward system. There are several ways to approach this, such as:
- Have them put stickers on a chart for each day they practice. When they have earned 10 stickers they get ice cream.
- Put a row of Skittles, M&Ms, or other small candy across the top of the piano. Each time they play a song they can eat one.
- Let your students earn weekly points for practicing all the pieces their teacher gave them. At the end of each month, they can redeem their points in your “home store” for fun swag like fancy pencils, stickers, or buttons.
Use the Best Materials
Ensure your pianist has the best supplies for their piano journey. Invest in a quality piano or keyboard. Have a quiet place for them to practice. Make sure their music is quality editions from Musicnotes. There you will find easy piano songs for beginners as well as music for the advancing pianist.
Data and information are provided for informational purposes only, and are not intended for investment or other purposes.