Practice tips for parents

Practice is essential to reap the rewards of musical study. This time and effort can be fun, engaging, as well as productive. Here are a few suggestions for parents working with young children and for adult students, as well. The best piano practice efforts lead to the best results.

Practice is the great Magician, who not only makes apparent impossibilities performable, but ever easy.


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.


Say or sing aloud (as the student plays) finger numbers, note names, note values and other elements 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.


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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