There is nothing more beautiful than watching your kids express themselves at the piano. Learning piano is an opportunity that many parents long to give their children. However, it is not an opportunity we can take for them. This article is all about what to do to encourage your kids as they take the opportunity of playing piano and enjoy all of its benefits for the brain.
The reward is in the music
Piano parents’ top goal for their child is to arrive at a point where the reward for practice is playing the piece well. The most important factor in reaching this goal is that your kid loves the piece they are learning. Find music which is inspiring for their age, relevant to their life, and achievable at their level.
Skoove creates arrangements of popular songs for all abilities (find out about our beginners’ mistakes to avoid). Furthermore, the app provides a lot of repertoire to engage in learning and gives real time feedback. What could be more relevant than learning the song happy birthday?
Studying songs the student already knows and loves is very motivating. For the younger beginner children’s songs like Twinkle Twinkle Little Star is a good place to start and it also encourages good pulse and hand position through the Skoove hand videos.
For the older beginner, songs which your kids and their friends will know and recognise are popular motivators. Pirates of the Caribbean is a good example and Skoove gives feedback on your playing. But there are some other easy-to-play movie soundtracks available on Skoove.
Perspective is a powerful motivator
Practicing piano is challenging. Even once the pianist has understood what has to be done the fingers still need training. Many parents choose to learn themselves as a way of supporting their child. This provides opportunities to show and model resilience and determination.
Did you know even Mozart had to work hard to develop his talent? Ask your kid to choose a piece they really want to learn and provide perspective as they take each small step to success. If your child loves Rollin’ in the Deep by Adele this interactive four-part course on Skoove, provides a great opportunity to say:
“I remember when you found part 1 hard and now you are on part 4. What a good job you are doing!”
Remind your child how far they have come and appreciate their effort. It is one of the most important roles of the piano teacher and piano parent.
Self-expression is an important outcome.
Every piano teacher will agree that playing piano is about expressing yourself and improvisation is a powerful way to do this. Pianists also experience well-being benefits while mindfully doodling at the piano.
Skoove offers this in Black is Beautiful:
Eat your vegetables
Just because a pianist loves music it doesn’t mean they will love every aspect of learning to become a pianist. It is good to know that. Think of it as eating your least favourite vegetables. Doing it provides your body with the fuel to live life to the full.
An aspect of piano lessons for kids is realising that if you engage in all elements of pianism you will develop into a rounded musician.
Luckily, Skoove is on hand to support the process in their Beginner Sight-reading and Scales courses.
Figures is a good lesson to start with:
Dos and Don’ts
- Don’t bribe or threaten “Do you practice, or I will take you phone away.”
- Don’t constantly point out all the wrong notes, believe me, your child is already frustrated.
- Don’t always expect more, it is not about harder pieces, longer practice, competition.
- Don’t make it only about note accuracy.
- Do make yourself available to sit with them during practice if they like the idea.
- Do empower your child by pointing out what is going well.
- Do prioritise the power of sharing and communicating through music.
- Do appreciate the music your child brings to your home.
From the first time your child sits at the piano, they are a pianist, they might be a pianist at the beginning of their unique and exciting journey, but they are a pianist who will blossom under your support and appreciation. Enjoy this time with your child and build them up as they take this wonderful opportunity. And if you want to accompany them on this journey, why not have a look at our previous article: How to play the piano.
Author of this blog post
Roberta Wolff – Pianist, Teacher, Mentor