After your child begins piano lessons, you may be wondering—exactly what is my role as a parent in all of this? If you have little or no knowledge of music, it may be tempting to simply sit back and leave everything to the teacher. However, as parents, there is a role to fulfill that music teachers cannot. As amazing as it would be, music teachers cannot be there every time your child needs to practice. Therefore, to fully optimize and support your child’s progress, we have listed 5 major ways you can support them as a parent—no music knowledge required!
1. Implement routine practice
Just like regular school, piano teachers will assign their students homework at the end of every lesson. It is the child’s responsibility to complete their practice and written homework for their next lesson. The best way to help them finish their homework on time is to implement specific times for them to practice or do their theory homework. Having a tangible time slot scheduled multiple times a week is a great way to keep your child on track and to ensure that they get their necessary practicing done. With practice time worked into your child’s regular schedule, it should be easier to get them to practice. Ensure your child is not hungry or tired while practicing for even more productive practice between lessons. If you are unsure how often or how long your child should be practicing as lessons continue, you can always consult the teacher.
2. Sit down to practice with them
As someone that started playing piano from a young age, I know how hard it can be to sit still at the piano—even if it’s only for 10 minutes! 10 minutes can feel like a lifetime to a young child. With every lesson, the teacher should have assigned the homework by writing it down in a dictation book or electronically through a document or email. Even if you don’t know how to read music, it can be very helpful to sit next to your child and make sure they are playing through every song or piece listed in the homework. By doing so, you can ensure that your child stays engaged throughout their practice sessions. As students get older, parents can also be nearby so that the child continues to feel supported in their practicing.
3. Allow them performance opportunities
Performing opportunities can be hard to come by. Although Upbeat Piano Studio offers three recitals every year, it can be helpful for your child to gain more performance experience. This can be as simple as asking them to perform for you, other family members, friends, or even their toys! Performing in front of a large audience can be daunting, especially for younger children. Performing for smaller audiences will help them gain the confidence to perform in bigger recital settings and potentially in competition settings. Family gatherings can be a great time for your child to play for extended family and start to show off their new skills!
4. Admire their genuine efforts and progress
Don’t forget to appreciate all the hard work your child has been putting in! I don’t mean just half-hearted verbal praise; appreciation can be shown through asking them to show you a new piece or note they just learned. No matter what age you are, it’s not easy to learn a new instrument. Some days, they may find practicing frustrating or struggle with learning new material. This is totally normal! Everybody has tough days learning sometimes, and understand that they are trying hard to grasp the new material. Make sure you stay supportive and reassure them that making mistakes is okay and a part of the process. Therefore, genuinely watch and admire all the effort your child has put into their learning.
5. Encourage practicing year-round
We understand that during the summer months, many families choose to stop lessons until school begins again. Of course, we don’t expect our students to be practicing super frequently over their summer vacation! However, it is best to have your child review or practice some of their pieces, songs, and theory homework—even if it is only once or twice—to prevent any backtracking in their progress. Keeping in touch with the piano is key, so encourage your child to dig up their favourite pieces and play them again. That way, teachers can immediately resume your child’s progress when they return to their lessons in the fall, rather than spending an entire month or two reviewing material they learned in the last term.
We hope that these five tips were helpful in understanding and preparing your child for their music journey. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us or your child’s teacher!