Tuesday, June 14, 2022 by Elena Papavero | Parents and Practice
A Note to Parents About Practicing
Thank you for your continued support of your child as they learn to play the piano! As I strive in our studio to produce great pianists, it is important to frequently touch base with you parents at home who act as an imperative daily support system to your child as they strive to practice and progress.
It has been said by some that a piano student needs about 1000 hours of practicing under their belt in order to feel competent and comfortable at the piano. Reaching this point (or not) by the early teenage years is very important, as it can make the difference between the students who lose interest and the students who continue to learn and progress and find lots of lifetime satisfaction in playing the piano. Let’s compare two different scenarios: first, a student who practices for about 15 minutes sporadically through the week – perhaps 3 or 4 days. This student logs maybe 30 or 40 hours in an entire year, and would take over 20 years to reach that 1000 hours! Contrast that to a student who averages 40 minutes at the piano per day for 6 days per week. This student will log over 200 hours per year, reaching 1000 hours at the piano in under 5 years. This second student has progressed over 4 times faster than the first!
Parental help with daily practice is essential to your child’s success at the piano. Consider these points:
• The more involved a parent is, the more the student will practice.
• Kids who end up being talented at the piano are the kids who work hard and whose parents work hard to help them succeed.
• Young children need supervised practice sessions. The person helping should sit nearby, help in reading directions, point out mistakes and give praise.
• In a study of piano students, higher-achieving piano students have supportive parental involvement from early childhood, then they gradually attain self-motivated practice by the time they reach adolescence. (Joanne Haroutounian, Kindling the Spark, p. 52)
• Lower-achieving piano students are simply told to “go and practice” without any direct involvement by their parents. (Haroutounian, Kindling the Spark, p. 52)
• The distinguishing factor that determines which students will ultimately excel is COMMITMENT.
Persistence is needed, because there will always be times when a student does not want to practice. As a parent helps them to practice daily (just as you help them to brush their teeth daily) the student learns hard work, grit and perseverance. (Haroutounian, Kindling the Spark, p. 52)
Here are some specific things that you as a parent can do to help ensure your child’s success!
1) Help your child choose a daily practice time free from distractions.
2) Be SURE that your student practices on the FIRST DAY after their weekly lesson – this will help them remember what they are supposed to be working on better because it will all be fresh in their memory.
3) Help sustain your child’s practice habits at home. Use the Practice Tricks Cards to help encourage specific effective and efficient practice strategies and habits. Help your child choose a practice card and read the explanation on the accompanying Piano Practice Tricks explanation sheet (included in your online resources from the Student Portal) to learn how you can help them practice.
4) Be consistent and mostly positive.
5) Encourage listening and live performance opportunities.
6) Support and recognize your child’s progress.
7) Attend lessons with your young child and help them with daily practice (under age 10).
Thank you so much for your support! As your child makes a habit of daily, effective practicing, they are learning a skill that will bring you and them a lifetime of joy and enjoyment. Keep up the good work!