I started writing a post for this blog a few weeks ago in which had 10 tips on helping your student stay motivated when learning piano. They were tips that honestly we all could probably think of; have rewards, practice goals, and set practice times. But as I thought more about it I’ve decided to dig deeper and write the blog more about some key things which helped motivate me as a child to continue with piano.
Rewards are amazing things. My mother used to say”after you practice you can go to your friends house” or “after you practice you can have this candy”. She once had me draw up a game board with 30 spaces or squares on it and draw a toy I’d been asking for for a long time at the end of the path. If had practiced everyday consecutively for those 30 days then I would get that prize. All these things really helped me practice but my motivation wasn’t to learn the piano.
In my house my parents created an atmosphere where music was always apart of our lives. I remember countless mornings waking up to our cd player blasting through the house. My mom always had violinists and singers over which she accompanied, and she taught piano after she got home from teaching choir at a school. Anytime someone would come over to visit, my dad would yell “Patrick grab your guitar” or “come play these people the new song you just learned.” Lastly my mother would sit down with me and help me practice when I didn’t want to, she made it more exciting by expressing how fast I learn, how much progress I’ve made, and how wonderful I sound. I eventually would try and practice when she wasn’t home so that I could show her how far I’ve come when she got back.
This environment made it inescapable to learn music, and I didn’t want to. I’m not against using any techniques to help kids learn and practice the piano, instrument, or art, but I think what it truly comes down to is if they can eventually come to see the benefit of what music actually does for them, then you won’t have to push them to practice, you’ll catch them practicing by themselves.
-Patrick Farrington (Bravo Employee)