You picked the perfect piano, hired a highly-rated piano teacher, and bought your child a stack of books to learn how to play the piano—but one thing’s missing: their motivation to practice. Even if a child is super excited to learn to play the piano, there are some times they may just not have the desire to sit down every day to practice. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. The challenge of keeping a child motivated to practice piano is very real and very normal. In this article, we discuss tips for encouraging your child to practice the piano.
7 Tips to Encourage Children to Practice the Piano
Below are some of our most realistic tips for helping your child continue practicing piano, even when they’re feeling less motivated to do so.
1. Set Realistic Expectations
One of the first ways to ensure your child feels motivated to practice piano is to set realistic goals. Your 6-year-old, for instance, probably won’t have the attention span to sit down for more than 10 minutes at a time to practice, and your teenager will probably appreciate a “rest” day once a week. Make sure you and your child’s piano teacher are on the same page with these expectations and adjust as needed. The key is to set realistic expectations and to communicate them with your child.
2. Establish a Routine
Set a consistent practice schedule for your child. Having a routine makes it easier for kids to integrate practice into their daily lives and makes practicing easier for you to support. The more consistent you are with this routine, the easier it will be to follow through. After school is easiest to remember, though some children prefer a break after a long school day. Before dinner or after dinner are also easy to remember for routines.
Ensure that practice sessions are a reasonable length, especially for younger children. Short, focused sessions are often more effective than long, tedious ones.
3. Provide Positive Reinforcement
Most children respond positively to praise. Try to stay engaged with your child’s practicing in a positive, enthusiastic manner (try to avoid correcting or criticizing as this can quickly create a negative connotation with practicing). Cheer on your child’s progress, improvements, and effort as often as possible.
4. Include Engaging Repertoire
If you have an experienced piano teacher for your child, they’re probably already including “fun songs” that engage your child. If not, or if your child still seems disinterested, consider talking with the teacher to ask for more personalized options for your student. Practicing a song from their favorite movie, tv show, video game, or musical can go a long way toward keeping playing the piano engaging for your child.
5. Utilize Technology
Explore piano apps on a tablet to help make learning more interactive and engaging. Digital pianos such as the Yamaha Clavinova CSP 150 have outstanding built-in or tablet-compatible applications and features to encourage learning and engagement. If you don’t have access to a tablet or digital piano, recording them playing and letting them listen to their progress can be motivating and boost their confidence.
6. Encourage Creativity
Allow time for creative exploration. Let them experiment with improvisation or encourage them to compose their own simple pieces. If your child enjoys this creative exploration time, consider setting aside one practice day a week for their own exploration instead of normal piano practice.
7. Encourage by Example
If you’re a piano player, take some time each week to pull out your favorite piano pieces to play. Whether you make this a family event where you invite your children to listen or dance along, or if you sneak into the music room to play while your family is home and engaged in their own activities, the simple act of bringing music into the house can encourage your children to do the same.
8. Be Patient and Supportive
Understand that progress may be gradual, and each child learns at their own pace. Be patient and provide ongoing support and encouragement.
Instead of looking at every practice session as a success or failure, try to have a more holistic, long-term view. Helping to keep practices positive and enjoyable will provide a more positive experience for your child, fostering a love for music that will stay with them throughout their lives.
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