So many parents ask me how to motivate their children to practice.
Here are 7 ways that have worked wonders for my students!
1. Routine rocks! Set a regular time for your child to practice every day.
2. Rewards - Kids love challenges, especially if they win something. Set specific goals. For instance, ask your little Mozart to play the same short line perfectly 3 times in a row for a sticker or their favorite small treat.
3. Shorter practice sessions - Playing for 15 minutes a day is better than cramming an hour one day a week. It's easier for a music student to remember where they left off and keep moving forward. Muscle memory and coordination need daily attention to improve. You can ask your child to play each song they are working on 3 or 4 times a day.
4. Play for fun! - Of course, practicing from method books is key (pun intended!). However, it's important to keep lighting a spark. You can find easy sheet music of your child's favorite songs. My students often enjoy songs from their favorite television series or popular songs they have heard on the radio. You can even have them create their own song. Lead the way by asking your child to compose a song with only 5 notes that you choose together. Create different combinations. For instance, they can play each note twice in a row, etc. Then give the song a title that matches the mood of the music. Once kids begin the challenge, they usually run with their own ideas!
5. Play music games! - Set a timer. Ask your little music maker to play a short song or excerpt in 20 seconds or less. It will help your child focus on getting to the end without stopping. Assign animals to each volume level and draw them together. You can draw a rabbit for soft music sections and an elephant for loud passages. Have your child imagine and play those sound levels. Give M&Ms and stickers for achieving certain objectives.
6. Find the right teacher - Your child will play better if he or she is comfortable and relaxed. You don't need to find the best pianist. For teaching beginners, you should look for someone patient that loves teaching. Teaching is a unique craft all on it's own. Some teachers are naturally great with kids. If you find a piano teacher that is passionate about sharing music and cares about your child's progress, never let them go!
7. Be supportive - If your child is having trouble, don't add to the tension by getting frustrated and critical. Playing the piano can be easy at the start. As the student learns more notes and positions, it can take longer to master a piece.
You might be taking piano lessons in Salem, New Hampshire, getting ready for a recital or just playing for enjoyment. Learning to play the piano is a step by step journey. It is not a fast sprint to the finish line. This is a road to life long learning. I am on the sidelines, cheering you and your child on!
Rosanna Ferro is a Berklee College of Music graduate. She has performed and composed shows in New York City and Boston. Rosanna is on the music teaching staff at Riverside Music Studio in Manhattan. Interested in piano lessons in Salem, New Hampshire? Contact RosannaFerro7@gmail.com for classes at Quality Music Lessons.