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Fun Practice Tips For The Young Pianist

Updated on March 22, 2016
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Keep Piano Practice Time Fun and Creative

Teaching piano is dear to my heart. It's been my career for over 50 years. I've also trained hundreds of teachers using my own method which is basically to teach with love.

The #1 reason children quit taking piano lessons is because there comes a point in their lessons when it isn't fun anymore. The assignments given are difficult to practice and when this happens the child takes it personal.

Thoughts become negative during practice time. "This is too hard and I can't do it." "I'm just stupid and can't learn." "I'm not good at the piano and I don't like it." "I don't want to play the piano anymore and I want to stop taking lessons."

We, as teachers must not do anything to encourage this type of thinking. With each lesson and introduction of new material we should be creative enough to find a fun way for the student to relate to.

The young pianist must leave the lesson with confidence in himself and eager to return to his teacher ready to show his progress through his practicing.

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The Parents Role In The Childs Piano Lessons

When you, the parent, enroll your child in piano lessons; you are also enrolling yourself as a big part of the instruction curriculum. The very young pianist must have the interest, encouragement and time of the parent. This is crucial to progress.

You help your child with their homework, school functions and even sports. Why would you not become just as active in your child's piano practice time? If you're not interested in their piano lessons, and especially the practice sessions, why should they be interested?

You won't believe your eyes!

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Tips For Supervising Children's Practice Time

When I'm asked for the reason I've had so much success with my very young piano students my answer is that I put myself in their place and think as they think. That includes the ability to present adult musical techniques as they would interest a child - not an adult.

There is no "one size fits all." The tips below are personalized to fit the needs of the child as every child is different:

  • Never be harsh during practice time. Use patience and gentleness. If you feel stressed or angry excuse yourself, walk out of the room and calm yourself down before returning to your child.


  • Help the child learn the names of the piano keys by placing m&ms on various keys. When the correct key is called out, the m&m can be eaten. Nuts or other treats may be substituted.


  • Give praise for any part of progress. Something positive can always be found, even if it's only the way a child touches the keys, or sits with good posture.


  • Allow the child several choices for scheduling practice time. Avoid making your young pianist give up a favorite television show or playtime. You don't want them to associate practice with punishment.


  • Think of different ways to ask your child to play the same song repeatedly. Example: Play it like you're sad ( encourages slow practice ) play it like you're running (encourages speed ) make it sound like its raining (staccato ) etc.


  • For scale practice - Suggest a rock style, thunder, an old person playing, etc. Also, you play every other note of the scale and they fill in the missing note.


  • Encourage the child to play different measures and mix then all up.


  • Use flash cards and have contests. These can be found on line. They can be used in so many fun ways.


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Final Thoughts

Your child's beginning piano lessons are an introduction to music that will influence him his entire life. It must be positive and it must be a joy. The first few lessons are usually fun because it's something different for the child.

The objective is to keep the interest of the child going so they will stick with it. It must be positive and it must be fun. I began lessons at the ripe old age of 5 and my parents had to drag me away from the piano. I love practicing to this day. It's my favorite thing in all the world.

Learning the piano opens up a whole new world to children. It brings an appreciation for all music and elevates a spiritual awakening.

The child becomes the music itself and grows up with a gift that can be shared with all.

© 2013 Audrey Hunt

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    • vocalcoach profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Hunt 

      4 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      randomcreative - Forgive me for the long delay in replying. You are absolutely correct about the parent's role in the success of young musicians. Glad you liked the tips and thanks for taking time to read my hub and commenting.

    • vocalcoach profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Hunt 

      4 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      Mhatter99 - Gee, but time goes by fast when you're having fun (which I've been doing by reading your hubs.) Sorry I'm so darn late with this reply. Thanks!

    • vocalcoach profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Hunt 

      4 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      Dear Faith ~ Thank you for being here. I like your comments. Parents play a very strong role in children's advancement with music lessons. blessings and love to you, dear friend ~ Audrey

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Claudia Mitchell 

      5 years ago

      This is helpful. My daughter just started piano lessons in September and I am not musical at all. I'll keep these tips in mind. Thanks.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      5 years ago

      I remember my piano lesson days and how much I would have benefited from the tips you mention here. Great suggestions for parents to follow in making it a better experience. The four year old child pianist is amazing!

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      5 years ago from south Florida

      Your tips for teaching a child to play the piano are beyond excellent, Audrey. How I wish I had found a teacher like you when I was a child, eons ago. I coulda become a contender. But I had a teacher (?) who had the Marquis de Sade's blood in her veins.

      I'm not entirely without talent since I do play the radio and when entertaining friends, often play charades. Just sayin'.

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 

      5 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello Audrey. I bet you have influenced hundreds if not thousands. What a perfect way to spend a career.

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 

      5 years ago from South Africa

      Very useful advise, thank you Audrey. This is exactly what I need now, supporting my granddaughter (6 years old) with her piano lessons. She started with the recorder last year, after 2 years of kindermuzik. But beginning of April this year we decided to try the piano, as she loves 'playing' on mine or anything with a keyboard more than blowing sounds with her mouth. She is quite amazing, showing excellent progress, but the fingers are dumb and every lesson is 'too difficult' until she gets on top of it. Thanks again for great and well-needed advice :) BtW, her older sister is doing well on the violin and find the piano lessons easier to master....

    • vocalcoach profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Hunt 

      5 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      billy - Hello my friend. I always feel better when I see you take the time out of your busy life to bring me support. I want you to know that I try my best to begin a hub with a good introduction. I realize after reading your hub about this topic that this is probably one of my many weaknesses. My goal is to continue to study the information you have given us and then edit all my hubs for a better intro. Don't give up on me - I intend to work on this until I get it right. A 'thumbs up' from my teacher, Mr. Holland is better than a paycheck. Much love and hugs to you and Beth ~ Audrey

    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 

      5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Parents' roles are so important in the success of young musicians. You've outlined a lot of great tips here. Thanks!

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 

      5 years ago from San Francisco

      This is a real good idea. thank you

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 

      5 years ago from southern USA

      Excellent write here dear Audrey. Yes, the parents do play a crucial role in encouraging children to have that desire for whatever it is they would like to play or artist endeavors. It takes much discipline too as far as practicing.

      Up and more and sharing

      Bless you, Faith Reaper

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I think it is so important that parents encourage their children to partake in the arts....music is such a rich gift to give to our children. Your suggestions are excellent...I hope there are parents reading this and learning from it.

      Well done my friend

      love,

      bill

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