For many parents, the endless battle to get their children to practice piano results in grumpy, unproductive evenings where they feel like the bad guy. It also results in them building an increasing resentment towards their piano.
However, it’s really important for students to practice their piano in order to progress their playing and feel more prepared for their next lesson. So how can you make piano practice an enjoyable and rewarding experience?
At Practice Pal, we believe piano practice doesn’t need to be a chore and can be made to be a fun and engaging activity for learners. So, here are five simple, tried and tested ways to make piano practice fun and most importantly, effective:
1. Let your child “own” their piano
Pianos are so big and imposing that children might feel intimidated about lifting lids, hitting keys too hard or accidentally scuffing the instrument.
Try not to be too precious about your piano – it should be an instrument first and a place to stick your photo frames on second (or third or fourth – I mean, come on – imagine we did this to other instruments! Would your kid want to play their clarinet if you’d hung some paintings on it?)
If you want your child to play the piano, make sure that it’s a welcoming experience for them.
As they get older, they like to become more independent so make sure they can just jump onto the stool and get started on their own. Also, make sure the piano is somewhere in the house they can access easily, and that the stool is at the right height (or easily adjustable) for them.
2. Allow your child to explore their piano
Have you ever looked inside a piano? Has your child? If not, then why not explore it with them!
Knowing how a piano works will help spark their imagination as they play, and think about all the hammers hitting the strings inside. Let them open up the piano and see what happens when they hit the different keys.
See if there are ways to change the sound (again, don’t be too precious – you want them to enjoy playing!) and how they could make the piano sound quieter or louder.
By helping your child learn more about how the piano works, it will help to improve their understanding and make piano practice a far less daunting task.
3. Create a piano practice routine
There’s nothing worse than being told to practice, having the door close on you and realising you don’t have a clue what you’re supposed to be doing!
Your child’s teacher should have written notes on what they should be practising, so have a chat with them and work out what they want to achieve that week of practice.
Give your child a bottle of water to take with them, and make sure they have their music in the room so they’re not in and out every couple of minutes distracting themselves with setup.
If they are certain what they are doing when they get in, and have everything they need to achieve it, then piano practice is going to be a lot easier and a lot more fun.
We’ve created a practice chart for children that helps them, you, and their teacher keep on top of their practice and how well they are progressing. Download it here
4. Do something fun after their practice
Once your child finishes their piano practice,, make sure they have a sit down with you, have a snack (very important) and chat about what they’ve done. Make sure you’ve been listening, even if you’re in the next room, so you can encourage them.
Then why not watch a video on youtube of a pianist and talk about the way they played. Pianists like Jamie Cullum or Lang Lang are well known for the theatrical way they play the piano.
Finally, see if your child can imitate the style of playing of the pianist you just watched, and ask if it helped their playing!
5. Get some professional help
The more prepared you and your child are, the easier and more fun practice becomes, but nothing can beat having a professional musician guide you along the way.
Specialist music schools across the world have practice rooms where music tutors walk up and down the corridors listening in to musicians practice, giving advice and encouragement and helping them skyrocket their progress through their knowledge and experience.
We’ve recreated this with our revolutionary online supervised music practice subscription. We work with some of the country’s best professional musicians who are passionate about sharing their love for music, and their passion for practice!
Practice is the most effective way to make progress in playing the piano. In fact, there’s no point in learning the piano if you don’t practice!
So why not make your music practice count and let your child be guided by a professional musician. You’ll be amazed at not only the progress they make, but the fun they have along the way.