Practising at home is the first step along the path to becoming an independent musician.
As your teacher, I will play an important part in explaining to your child how to practise. Most children also need extra support at home from a parent or guardian, in order to learn to practise regularly and effectively.
Praise and encouragement also go a long way to make sure that your child enjoys practising.
How to support your child? Do I need to be musician myself?
Fortunately, there are many ways in which you can support your child, and you don’t need to be musical to help them.
Learning an instrument ins’t easy! Remember that learning to play the piano is a hugely complex undertaking and involves multitasking at a high level!
Here are some of the new skills that your child will be learning during their lessons, and will need to repeat at home:
- using muscle groups which need to be strengthened
- creating a sound and controlling it
- listening to the sound they are making and modifying it
- learning, reading and applying music notation
- learning and understanding unfamiliar terminology, in many different languages (Music vocabulary uses Italian, French or even German!)
How would my child know how/what to practise?
During lesson time, I will show your child:
- How to practise
- What to practise
- How long to practise each element
These instructions are most of the time written in your child’s piano notebook. There is also a section for parents’ comments, and you might want to feedback on the week practice.
With older student, I like to encourage them to record on their phone part of the lessons, to help them to practise effectively at home.
Where is the best place to practise?
Your child’s practise space should be inviting and as free as possible from distractions. It is important to think carefully where you are going to position the instrument.
When is the best time to practise?
Once again, it depends on the child! In other words, practising requires a lot of concentration, ideally your child shouldn’t be too tired to do so.
Before school can work well, as most children are quite alert in the morning, and have not had a tiring school day behind them. My advice is to experiment different routine until you find what is best for your child.
Most children respond well to a routine, so once you have found a suitable time, do try to adhere to it with regularity!
How often should practice happen and how long for?
It is one of the most common question! The answer is simple: It is much better to practise little and often rather than trying to fit everything into one long session.
Most importantly, children cannot concentrate for very long period of time, so it is best for them to practise for ten to twenty minutes on at least four or five days a week. Most advance players will practise longer.
Regular practice will make all the difference! If your child practises, he/she will improve! Learning the piano will be rewarding and fun, if they can feel genuine signs of progression.
The best practice sessions are both concentrated and creative.
How should my child practise?
Here are a few simple variations that I may suggest to male practising more interesting for a young learner:
- Play the piece loudly (forte)
- Practise it quietly (piano)
- Play hands separately
- Draw a picture to go with the piece
- Play it with your eyes closed
- Try to play the Left Hand by itself from memory. What about the Right Hand now?
- Write a short story about the music!
Any questions about your child? Feel free to contact Lorraine directly, by clicking here.
The exam board ABRSM has some good tools to help musicians in their practice. Click here to discover more.
Lorraine Wild_Piano Lessons in Godalming, UK _ All Ages Welcome | Adults & Children Taught | Classical & Contemporary Styles