The connection between a musician and their instrument is like nothing else on earth. It is truly a relationship. When it’s working, you want to spend all your time with it – discovering new ways to play and new pieces to visit together. But when things aren’t going well – you can find yourself drifting apart.
Getting your child to practice, never mind love, their instrument might be challenging enough. The battles you face to even get 15 minutes of concentration are enough to cause a raging argument – and the question “why bother?” will be on both your minds.
“Should I force my child to practice piano?”
Can we get this out the way – forcing a child to practice their piano, violin, recorder, or any other instrument is not going to get results. Practice is essential to developing a musician’s skills and discipline, but forcing your child onto their piano stool is not going to get the results you want.
While it might give you a term’s worth of practice, if your child isn’t enjoying what they are doing, they’ll try to give up at the earliest opportunity. And then all that time, effort and money has just gone down the drain.
But if you can help your child to love learning to play music, and give them the tools to make the most of their practice music sessions, you will see how motivated they are to pick up their instrument, open up the lid of the piano and explore what they and their instrument can do together.
5 ways to support your child’s piano practice:
1. Create a practice space
We know that finding space in a busy household is tough, but try finding a room or a corner of one!) that can be devoted to practice during the week. Make sure that the space is calm and close to where you are most likely to be during practice times.
Don’t move your child to a room where you can’t hear them and they don’t know what you’re doing – they’ll be lonely, and you won’t be able to encourage them!
2. Check lesson notes
Your child’s music teacher should be writing notes at the end of each piano lesson to let you know what was played, how your child is getting on, and what they should be practising before the next lesson. Take a look and talk it through so you can come up with a plan together.
3. Set goals
When your child walks into their room to practice without clear practice goals, you’ll likely find them doing anything but practising very soon! After all, practice isn’t effective if you have to spend most of your time working out what to do.
Rather than asking how long your child should play the piano, ask how they can make the best use of the time. Average attention spans range from eight to 20 minutes depending on your child’s age, so making the most of this time is key.
We’ve created a weekly music practice chart to help you and your child plan their practice session. Fill it in with your child before their first post-lesson practice and see if tracking their own progress encourages them to keep going. Both of you will be surprised how quickly time passes when you have a clear practice routine set in place.
Ask their piano teacher for demo clips
Sometimes your child could be given a piece of music that they’re struggling to understand. If there isn’t enough time during the lesson to get it right, they can be left to work it out by themselves or wait until the next lesson to ask their teacher.
Requesting that their teacher regularly records demo clips that your child can watch as they practice is a simple way to make sure they’re practising their piece correctly.
Side note: if your child’s music teacher is new to demo clips, you should send them our way. Our Teacher’s Account makes it easy for them to record videos during lessons and to send them to you at the click of a button. Sorted!
Try supervised practice
Supervised practice not only doubles the rate at which your child improves playing their instrument, it also makes their practice sessions much more enjoyable.
Supervised practice means your child will be mentored by one of the country’s best musicians, passionate about sharing their love for music. They will watch and listen to their practice and provide live feedback through our in-app messenger to encourage your child to continue practising their instrument at home.
You will then receive a report at the end of the session so you can chat with your child about how they got on. Intrigued? Find out more about our Supervised Practice subscription.
How to get your child to want to practice piano
The more you have set in place, the easier it becomes to motivate your child to practice. As music teachers, we’ve thought long and hard about how to encourage children to practice – it’s why we built our supervised music practice app.
Children love Practice Pal because of how much they learn during each practice session and because of the encouragement they receive from their mentor. Since they look forward to logging in to their practice sessions, arguments become a thing of the past.
And parents love Practice Pal because children love Practice Pal. As one parent told us: “the teacher’s great help over Practice Pal is the true lifesaver to me. I feel I can be a mummy again, not a screaming monster chasing my kids to do practice every day!“
Try it for yourself – sign up for our supervised practice subscription and give your child the motivation to practice and the ability to love their musical instrument.