For many parents, the endless battle to get their children to practice their piano results in grumpy, unproductive evenings where parents feel like the bad guy and kids build an increasing resentment towards their piano. So how can you make piano practice for kids an enjoyable and rewarding experience? Here are five simple, tried and tested ways to make piano practise more fun:
Let kids “own” their piano
Pianos are so big and imposing that kids 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 kids to play the piano, make sure that it’s a welcoming experience for them. Ensure they can just jump onto the stool and get started. Make sure it’s somewhere in the house they can access easily, and that the stool is at the right height (or easily adjustable) for them.
Let kids explore their piano
Have you ever looked inside a piano? Has your child? 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 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 making the piano more accessible, piano practice for kids is a far less daunting task.
Come up with a clear 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 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 music practice is going to be a lot easier and a lot more fun.
We’ve created a practice chart for kids that helps them, you, and their teacher keep on top of their practice and how well they are progressing. Download it here
Do something fun after their practice
Once your child finishes their piano practice, before they move on to the next thing, 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. For some final fun, see if your child can imitate the style of playing of the pianist you just watched, and ask if it helped their playing!
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 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.