“If I do not practice for one day, I know it; if I do not practice for two days, the critics know; if I do not practice for three days, the audience knows it!”
Ignacy Jan Padarewski, Polish Pianist and Composer
To master the piano your child will need to practice daily. Even after 32 years of playing piano, I am still learning and perfecting my skills. One of the biggest challenges the parents face, particularly if no one in the family has ever played an instrument before, is getting their children to practice regularly. Here are some tips that will help you and your child to build good practice habits from the outset.
I believe that successful practice is dependent on a child’s mood and environment. Children today live in a world full of distractions. It is important to create an environment that will allow your child to focus on their practice for a period of time without interruptions. Your piano should be located in a quiet area of your home.
Practice Time and Length
Consistency is the key to mastering the piano. Arrange your child’s schedule in such a way that they can practice every day for 15 to 40 minutes. The length of time will vary depending on the level your child has mastered and their age. Practicing every day at the same time will helps to develop good practice habits. Never set a specific amount of time for practice. The “30 Minutes Rule” never works. Instead, set specific goals for each practice session and allow your child to take a 5 minute break if they are having trouble concentrating.
Set goals on a daily, weekly and long term goals for your child. For example a goal for today’s practice can be to master the D Minor scale and arpeggio and to learn 4 measures of Sonatina with right fingering. I will give your child homework on a weekly basis. Ensure that time is allotted throughout the week to finish the homework before your child’s next lesson. I will mark any area of difficulty your child is having on the sheet music provided. Have your child work on these sections before their next lesson. It is important to master every section before moving on to another piece.
Quality practice time is better than hours of practice on end. It’s not about how long you practice, but about how well you practice. Stop practicing before it becomes a war of wills. Come back when your child is ready to continue.
When facing the challenge of getting your child to practice, remember that music education does wonders for your child’s brain and is worth the time and effort. Getting your child to practice is hard work, but once it becomes a regular routine it will get easier. When you look back you will be amazed at what your child has accomplished.