Updated: Feb 25, 2020
As a mom of three grown children who all took music lessons growing up and as a teacher who has taught many over the years how to play the piano, I have a pretty good understanding of what is needed to help a child practice at home. Sometimes practicing at home is the hardest part of taking music lessons! I hope these tips will be helpful for you as you assist your child at home, even if you do not know music yourself.
Establishing a set time of day to practice is very important. Kids thrive with set routines. Let your child help decide the best time of day whether it’s before/after school, before/after dinner, or before bed. You know when your child will be the most focused!
Putting music on the piano immediately after getting home from their lesson can help remind you to practice. If books are left in the car, they may not be remembered until the next lesson.
Divide practice sessions into smaller 10-15 minute intervals. Focus on a few measures at a time. Maybe play only the right hand part or left hand part. Clap and count the rhythm. Or do a theory page or two.
Sit with your child to get them started and to help organize practice time, ensuring they are practicing what’s assigned and give encouragement.
Look for notes on lesson pages that teacher has written or the concept being taught to help child remember what/how to practice that piece.
Start each practice session with something different to keep it interesting! Decide with child what they want to start with at the next practice session.
Play and say note names to build note-reading skills.
Reviewing flashcards can be extremely helpful for child and parent as each concept is explained on the back! This can be made into a game to see how many they (or you) know!
Help child problem-solve if frustrated or unsure about something, for example, help them decide the best place to start (this is sometimes the hardest part!). Review lesson pages to remind them of a concept previously taught. Ask child, “What would make sense here?” or “What sounds right?”
Make notes for teacher if child is unsure about an assignment or concept that isn’t clear. Keep it positive! The teacher can address it at the next lesson.
Always encourage your child to try! Be positive about music and practicing!
Hug your child at the end of each practice session and tell them one thing that they did well, even if it was having a good attitude and staying with it when it was hard, etc.