Like many moms, I have a difficult time trying to inspire my daughter to put down her iPhone and do something else, anything else! Read a book, go outside or play something on the piano. But, that phone is a hard act to follow. So, with competition like that, how does a piano parent motivate their child to practice? Over the years I've learned that when you make things fun, it seems easier and becomes something you look forward to doing.
Here are three quick ideas that might help you make piano practice fun for you child:
Shorter Practice Times. It's essential for piano students to practice every day so they will reinforce and master the skills they have learned. However, sitting at the piano for thirty minutes or more can be quite daunting, even for the most seasoned student. Breaking practice times up into two or three, 10 or 15 minutes sessions per day, rather than one long session at night will seem less overwhelming. Experiment with your pianist to see what works best and then make that part of your daily routine.
Music. Let's be honest; no one goes to a concert to hear the musicians play a bunch of scales, they're there to listen to the music. And while scales, theory, and finger exercises are critical, after a while, it can get tedious, especially for the younger student. That's why it's important to incorporate a favorite or recognizable tune into your child's practice schedule. There are lots of music resources out there where you can quickly download an easy version of most popular music. Work with your piano teacher or studio because they should have access to different music company's and websites.
Encouragement. During your child's practice time make sure you are present and actively listening. You don't need to sit there with them, but every so often check-in, give them praise or ask them to show you what they're learning. It might even be fun to have them teach you! Positive encouragement is always appreciated and inspires everyone to work harder.
Giving the gift of music to your child is something you will never regret, and with little creative thinking, it will be something they will enjoy their entire life.