10 Ways to Help Your Child Succeed at the Piano

shutterstock_17243083Hearing your child play music is one of the most wonderful sounds in the world! Imagine your son or daughter sitting down at the piano and playing beautifully. Classical music, Jazz, music for holidays and celebrations. Envision you child really playing, really enjoying the piano for a lifetime. What better gift could you give? Here are 10 ways to make that dream come true.

1- Take Lessons. If you want your child to learn how to play the piano she needs to study with a qualified teacher. I believe the best way is a private lesson either in the physical presence of the teacher or via Skype or something similar. For beginners, especially younger kids, I believe having a teacher in the room with the student is the better option by far.

2- Get a piano! This is a big one. I have so many parents ask me if a piano is needed. Yes, yes and YES you need to have at least a digital keyboard with weighted keys for your child to practice on. If you are really serious, purchase a decent acoustic piano. You won’t regret it, I promise.

3- Find a great teacher. There’s a blog post about that called, Finding  the Best Piano Teacher for Your Child

4- Once you find a great teacher stick with him for a while. “A while” meaning at least a few years. If you are taking lessons somewhere and teachers are constantly changing, seriously consider finding a more stable situation.

5- Attend lessons regularly. Don’t skip unless you absolutely have to. Go to the lesson even if your child has had a busy week and hasn’t practiced. Consistency is the key to success when it comes to the piano.

6- Don’t take long breaks from lessons. I’m not talking about vacations. I regularly have students come to me who have taken lessons for two years and then stopped, and then picked up for a year and stopped. Piano study just doesn’t work like that. I have never seen students who take long breaks really learn to play well.

7- Make piano practice part of the daily routine. Homework, dinner, brush your teeth, practice. Dr. Suzuki told his students “you only need to practice on the days that you eat”. I tell my students the same thing. Of course there are exceptions, those days when everything is just too much, but try to make practice a daily activity.

8- Don’t take summers off. I am all for vacations, but 10 weeks of no practicing… Not so much. Besides summer is when kids have time to practice. There’s a post about that subject too, Summer Piano Lessons a Great Idea.

9- Attend recitals, and evaluations. Having to prepare for performances not only helps students to set goals and advance in their playing, these experiences are invaluable as they build confidence and character.

10- Don’t quit. Learning the piano is a super long term project and there will probably be times when your child wants to throw in the towel but do everything you can to keep her going. It isn’t easy, but in the end the reward of learning to play the piano is well worth the effort.

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