Practice Tips For Parents

I've listed a few practice suggestions for parents working with young children and for adult students, as well. You can help to make this time fun, engaging, as well as productive. The best piano practice efforts lead to the best results and is essential to reap the rewards of any music study. (Rhythm activity below.)

Schedule daily practice

Aim to make practice nonnegotiable. Practice can become just like brushing your teeth: Daily structure is helpful for everyone.

Spot practice

Refer to my weekly notes in the assignment book for guidance. Focus first on the most challenging elements.

Short practice sessions

For any beginner, but especially younger children, 15-20 minutes is long enough. Two short sessions are better than a long one.

Verbalizing

Say or sing aloud (as the student plays) finger numbers, note names, note values, even words or phrases,  to improve focus and reinforce learning.

Play a supporting role

Be supportive, but not a second teacher. Just sitting by the student during a practice session and appreciating their playing is all they need. Having multiple teachers leads to confusion.

Reward the student

Positive reinforcement is optimal in order to learn and develop good habits. (Don't punish mistakes as that's just negative reinforcement.) Maybe have a cookie! If a daily practice session isn't going well, take a break.

Fun Rhythm Activity!

Adding words to your rhythm challenges can make your practice easy, and more fun! Here are a few examples of words and phrases that you might try.

Spotlight

Walking can be a natural introduction to a child's understanding of rhythm. Also, pay attention to the beats of your heart and you will gain a sense of musical timing.
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