Helping with the little things
Guest Contributor: Heidi Icleanu
Often parents discuss practicing and whether or not you should make your kids practice. Don’t make them practice, remind them to practice and encourage their learning. We encourage them to take responsibility for their own practice throughout the week by incentivizing with stickers and other rewards, and we also love to have parents be a part of their child’s musical journey. Here are a few suggestions about how to remind children to practice or find out about things that might be preventing them from being excited about going to the piano:
· Can you show me what you’re working on this week for piano?
· Do you need help with any of your piano songs before your lesson? (If you play, and they have asked for help, this is an opportunity to work through a song and talk about effective practicing together. If you don’t play, this is a good way for them to teach you something about what they are learning and what they are struggling with.)
· What’s your favorite song from this week? Can you play it for me?
· Do you have any hard songs this week that you don’t really want to practice?
Do just the right hand together
Do just the first line
Figure out where your hands go
Find it the book and make a note to the teacher that it’s a tough one we want to save for next week, etc.
Some of the stumbling blocks for practice are actually little things that just get overwhelming when you’re a kid! Occasionally a 2-minute help goes a long way in not stressing a child about one song for the whole week. Acknowledging the struggle of learning a difficult song or a challenging concept reminds them that you’re in their court. Saying you are proud of them means the world to them.
Also, because piano lessons and practice time often fall between the crazy hours of 3pm to 8pm, sometimes children just need a snack or a nap to make the whole world a better place. Whether you are parenting, practicing, or trying to find the balance between the two like I am, I am happy to be with you on this journey.
I hope these tips have been helpful and that together we can help in small ways, discover our children’s talents, think at their speed, and make music a consistent and enjoyable part of our lives.