As a parent of a child learning to play an instrument, we have all heard the familiar phrases “I don’t want to practice,” “I don’t like playing the piano,” or “I want to quit.” As a parent and music teacher, here are five helpful ways to make practicing at home more enjoyable for you and your child:
Make It Regular
Pick a specific time to practice every day. Maybe, it could be before or after school. If you pick a certain time to practice each day, it will become part of their daily routine, like brushing their teeth or eating breakfast.
Children are much more excited to practice when they actually get to play a song that they enjoy playing! Maybe they want to play their favorite Taylor Swift song or maybe they love “Let it Go” from Disney’s Frozen. Bravo does a wonderful job with this by letting the STUDENT pick a supplemental piece that they would like to learn, as well as their regular lesson book pieces. If the student enjoys playing it, they will like practicing it much more!
Sit down with your child and read the teacher’s instructions. Know what is expected of them. (FYI – You don’t have to actually know anything about music to be able to do this!) Talk to your child about what they are working on, progress, and goals. Have your piano in a central location of the house so you can hear them practicing. Be
excited when they practice and complete pieces! If your child is struggling with a piece, say, “That’s my favorite piece! Can I please hear it again?” Not only will they play it more, they’ll WANT to play it more knowing that you like it (even if you don’t!)
One example of a practice board game: Take a piece of cardboard and draw squares or a “track” from side to side, one side being “start” and the other the “finish.” Use small toys or tokens to move along your track. Once your child has met a practice goal of a song, for example, once they have played line one correctly, they can move their piece a square. This makes practicing a game! You can also use this same method on a more difficult part of a song…once they have played a tricky measure correctly, they can move one square. Try to reach the “finish” line by the end of the practice session!
Take your child to a concert where a professional is playing their instrument. As a child, my parents used to take us to the symphony monthly. This gave me a goal of what to work towards. They will realize that their hard work and practicing is worth it! Plus, you will both get to hear some beautiful music!
-Kirsten Nelson (Bravo Employee)