A Parent's Guide to Piano Practice

Any dedicated parent who has put their child in music lessons wonders how they can help. It's only natural after all! We all want the best for our children. But what really can you do? What is the most important?

Over the years I have developed this Parent's Guide to Piano Practice. This article also has some great ideas (excerpts below)!

If you follow the guidelines and tips below, your child will make great progress and feel comfortable and confident playing the piano!

The Parent's Guide to Piano Practice:

Lori's Tip:  Set regular practice times and remind yourself or your child to practice

ColorfulKey's tip: 
Practise should Happen at the Same time Every DayChoose a time that you are able to stick to. This could be before school in the morning, after school, after homework is finished, just before dinner; any time that you can be consistent about.
Lori's Tip: Keep the piano in good working order and in tune.

"The piano keys are black and white, but they sound like a million colors in your mind." - Maria Cristina Mena

Don't let the "colors" that you hear from your piano turn everything a yucky muddy brown! Make sure your piano produces beautiful music by keeping it regularly tuned and maintained. (If you need the name and number of a piano technician please let me know.) It is hard to know if you are playing a song right if your piano isn't making the right sounds.

Lori's Tip: Provide a practice environment free from distraction (no TV or iPod music playing
during practice time).

To ensure QUALITY practice, you need to make sure that there are no distractions during practice time. Practice does NOT make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect. If your child practices distractedly, they will play distractedly. If your child practices in a focused environment, they will learn to play beautifully.

Lori's Tip: Make sure friends and family respect practice times.

This goes hand in hand with the previous tip. It will be VERY hard for your child to focus on practicing if a friend comes over and wants to play. Or, if other family members keep distracting them. Make practice time your quiet time.

Lori's Tip: Listen to your child play. Keep your comments positive and encouraging.

ColorfulKey's Tip:
Be their CheerleaderMost importantly, let your child know how much you love hearing them play! This is by far the best way to encourage long term practise. (If they’re doing really well with a piece, it’s a great idea to arrange a mini-concert, gather round the family so they can show off all their hard work!)

Lori's Tip: Know that there will be times when your student will resist practicing. There are some age groups that are more difficult to motivate to practice than others. This is NORMAL. Be
understanding of occasional lapses, but stress the need for regularity.

ColorfulKey's Tip: 
Encourage Slow Practice: Whenever possible, and especially in the beginning few weeks, try to sit with your child and encourage them not to rush. You could also try tapping or clapping a steady beat while you’re child is playing to help them hear the pulse.

Lori's Tip: Don’t allow your student to skip a lesson because he or she has not practiced. The
student who hasn’t practiced is the most in need of a lesson.

ColorfulKey's Tip: 
Be their Student: Get them to explain to you what they’re working on, how they know what to play etc. Try pointing to symbols and asking them what they mean. This will not only help you to know what’s going on, but will reinforce their knowledge.

Lori's Tip: Don’t emphasize how long the practice time is, but how much has been accomplished.
ColorfulKey's Tip:
Follow the Assignment Sheet: Setting a certain amount of time for practice is not ideal, try to follow the assignment sheet. Make sure the student practices all the assignments, as the teacher specified. If this takes only 5 minutes that’s fine, if it takes 20 minutes that’s fine too.


1 comment

  1. Thank you for this article! I am an instrumental music teacher, and I'm constantly on the lookout for good sources of inspiration and material about practicing, and your article is excellent! I hope you won't mind if I modify and share this with my students.


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