How to Encourage Your Child to Practice the Piano

Helping Your Child Enjoy Piano Lessons

piano lessonsYou love music. You want your budding prodigy to enjoy piano lessons, so that he or she can fill your home with the warm, soft sounds of Chopin Etudes.But motivating practice is a delicate art.

It’s easy to go wrong — to create the wrong kinds of incentives, which will get bad results and possibly scare your child away from the instrument that you treasure. Consider typical “punishment or reward” pedagogy. In this scheme, you let the child enjoy special treats for meeting practice goals. Or, conversely, you punish him or her by taking away privileges for failing to meet benchmarks. This works in the short term but seriously de-motivates, over the long term. Sure, you’ll get (some) compliance. But you’re creating an adversarial relationship between the child and the piano.

Make Playing the Piano a Habit

Practice is a habit. It’s a way of being –– not an item to be checked off a to do list. If you want the child to develop passion for playing, practice should not be seen as an obligation.

To that end, aim for frequency and intensity of practice – rather than duration or “results” (in the form of “I can play XYZ piece, amazingly, by ABC date”). Practice should be regimented. Ideally, do it at the same time, every day, in the same place. It should be challenging, but not too challenging. You want to push limits but not be a slave to the keyboard. It is very helpful if there is a piano in the home, available for spontaneous practice sessions. If your child can only play during piano lessons at the instructor’s home, consider renting a piano from a trusted piano dealer.

Each child should develop his or her own practice rhythm – ideally interspersed with fun, relaxing downtime activities, such as TV time or time to chat on the phone with friends. You really want your child to get into “flow state” during practice. In the beginning — especially for young pianists — 10 minutes or 15 minutes of this “flow state” is plenty. You don’t need to push it longer. The intensity of the session – the degree of concentration – is much more important than the actual number of minutes at the keyboard.

Shopping for a Practice Piano

To shop for a gorgeous piano, connect with our Bay Area piano store. Pianos Plus has been serving the local Northern California community for over four decades. We’re a family-owned business with an excellent reputation. Find out more about us online, or give us a call today at 510-581-1660 to talk about your piano and practice needs.