Practice Techniques to Make Piano Easier for Your Child
Both of my children have been taking piano lessons for years. For part of that time we were making very inefficient use of piano practice time. These are some ways that we have made better use of piano practice time.
Learn Measure to Measure - When my eldest child was first learning songs for the piano, she would learn the right hand and then add the left hand after mastering the right. She has found it far easier to learn both together. Start with the first measure. Practice the right hand until your child can play it easily. Then practice the left hand. Then put them together and practice over and over.
Make sure your child is paying attention to everything in the measure, such as fingering, loudness, staccato and so on. Often measures repeat throughout a piece, so mastery of one measure may really be mastery of two or three. With younger kids, you may want to focus on about four to six measures per day. For longer songs, you may have to do more.
Learning one measure at a time may be frustrating to more experienced players. They can use the same method but learn four to six measures at a time.
How To Practice Piano:Tips For Beginners
Learn Harder Parts of a Song First - if part of a song has something tricky, such as staccato on the right hand but not on the left or some unusual fingering, work on this area first. It is better to start with harder parts at the beginning of the practice session, while your child is still fresh.
Work on Trouble Spots - children will often repeatedly make the same mistake in a song and go back to the beginning to try to get it right. Make sure your child stops and focuses on areas that are troubling to them. Teach them how to stop, fix a mistake and then go on. This makes their piano practice time far more efficient.
Break Up Piano Practice - break up piano practice into two or three sessions per day if possible. If your child is at school all day, this may be a bit harder. But try to schedule a couple of sessions, even if only 10 minutes each.
Teach a Little Music Theory at each Practice Session - it can take kids a long time to learn music theory. Go over a little at each practice session. They are more likely to remember music theory if they are going over it every day. For example, you can explain time signatures, key, or note value. Not all music programs start with note reading. When your child does start learning to read music, make sure they figure out the notes for themselves when going measure to measure. They will learn to read music more quickly this way. If you don't know these things, try to sit in on your child's piano lessons to learn along with them.
Music Theory Printouts - you can find a lot of things online that will help teach music theory. Put these on the wall next to the piano or in a folder in their music bag. Some good options are:
Note Value: scroll down in this blog to find a picture of how notes are broken down. You can print the picture.
Time Signatures: scroll down in this website for an explanation of time signatures.
Key Signature: scroll down to Key Signatures. Print out Circle of 5ths to help your child recognise the various keys.
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