A successful music experience starts with you. The parent is essential in creating a successful music lesson experience. When parents are excited about music, the students start to see music as a fun experience rather than a chore.
These first three posts will be focused on making your child’s music experience better. If you have found that your child is starting to view piano as a chore, implementing just a few of these tips can help kindle the fire of curiosity and learning for them.
Be their biggest fan
Becoming your child's biggest fan can be exhausting a times. Honestly, they may even hurt your ears at first with their practicing. Encouraging them despite that is what makes the difference in a child's performance and practice. And not only does it help them with piano, but it can affect them immensely as an individual. Peggy O'Mara said, "The way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice." Make sure their inner voice is the right one.
I think it’s so interesting that when a kid has a big soccer game, we pack up the lawn chairs, stake our claim close to the field, and cheer loud enough to embarrass them in front of their friends. If they win or lose, we even take them to ice cream to celebrate their achievement. When it comes to music lessons however, we say, “Go practice your music,” and ignore their achievements. Children need just as much encouragement in their piano playing as in their soccer game, maybe more. They need someone that will tell them they are improving and that the work is worth it.
Expose your child to a variety of music
Make your home a musical place. Try listening to musicals in the car on the way to school or taking time to watch a concert at the local high school. Expose them to all kinds of music. Listen to some Blue Man Group with their odd use of everyday objects or African drumming on YouTube. What does music in India sound like compared to music in Sweden? The world is filled with music, and the more kids experience it, the more they will enjoy good music and want to create their own.
Play with your student
This doesn't have to be just music games, though those serve both purposes of learning music and boosting creativity. The point is, you don’t need to know how to play the piano to play with your child. Sit in on the next lesson or two. You’ll be surprised at how quickly you can catch on. Have them teach you a simple music game they have learned. Games help students learn more about the world and boosts their creativity. We all know kids can make a game out of anything. Encourage them to come up with games. They start to make connections in their brain their never had before.
Encourage your child to teach what they know
Start with asking them to play for you a song they are learning. Compliment their good work and ask them what certain parts of the music mean. You don't have to know anything about music to do this. All you have to do is ask them why they played loud or soft, how they knew what knots to play, anything. When a child teaches, they cement that concept in their mind. Not only that, but it shows them that you care about what they are learning.
Take a few of these ideas and start implementing them today. The great thing about them is that you don't have to start these when your child first starts learning to play. You can use them at any point along the way. When you use these steps, piano becomes a part of them, not just something they have to do for 30 minutes a day.
Annah grew up in Minnesota, but now lives in Rexburg. She is a visual communication major at Brigham Young University - Idaho, and also works at Love Family Piano. She grew up helping her family with her piano playing skills by editing songs her mother had written and writing duets for her clarinet-playing brother so they could play together. While serving in the Utah Salt Lake City West LDS mission, she accompanied a mission choir under the direction of Marshall McDonald, along with accompanying solos and group numbers. Annah has also served as pianist and organist in her local congregation. She loves being able to mix her love for communication and piano. Visit her personal blog and see what else she is up to.