Saturday, July 26, 2014

How to Encourage Kids to Practice Piano

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One of the most difficult things about being a piano teacher is encouraging students to continue practicing piano over breaks. Whether it is a break around Christmas time or a break during the summer, I know that my students are likely not practicing as much as they need or as much as I would like. And honestly, as a kid growing up, I remember rarely touching the piano during the summer months. So I get it. However, lack of practice during this time can really affect progress.

So how can you encourage your kids to practice piano (or any instrument really!) during school breaks?

Ideas and tips for encouraging children to practice piano - includes review of 101 Piano Practice Tips ebook from And Next Comes L

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. I received a copy of 101 Piano Practice Tips in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own and were not influenced by the free product.

The book 101 Piano Practice Tips by Tracy Capps Selle offers lots of amazing practice ideas. It's a valuable guide for parents to keep on hand in order to find the right practice suggestions for your child. There were even plenty of fun ideas that I had never heard of before! And the chapter filled with tips from kids is completely adorable. I also particularly enjoyed how the book reinforced three key ideas about practicing piano:
  • It should be fun.
  • It should be part of a daily routine.
  • Not all piano practice needs to occur at the piano.

Tip 1: Make Practicing Piano Fun!

During the summer, kids want to just play. As a result, they view practicing piano as a chore or as work. So you may have to look for creative ways to make practicing piano fun. Here are some ways to make practicing piano fun:
  • Host a teddy bear concert. In 101 Piano Practice Tips, Tracy mentions this adorable idea of having your child playing a concert for their favorite stuffed animals. Encouraging a child to perform for their stuffed animals will not only make practicing piano more fun, but it will help them develop the confidence needed to participate in performances. So it helps them prepare for piano recitals too!
  • Come up with games to encourage practice. Another fun idea from Tracy's book is the game called "Penny Practice." It involves moving pennies from one side of the piano to the other each time a child plays a difficult section correctly. Play it wrong and a penny moves back to the original side. Once all the pennies move to the other side, the child not only wins the game, but they get to keep the pennies (or candies or whatever else you may substitute).
  • Record you child playing the piano. They will love watching the video afterwards!
  • Encourage your child to play their favorite songs as they will be more likely to want to practice if it's songs that they enjoy.

Tip 2: Make Practicing Piano Part of the Daily Routine

You may have to remind your child to brush their teeth or wash their hands. That means you may have to remind them to practice piano as well. 

It may be helpful to find a time of day that is designated to practicing piano. When I was a teenager, I used to wake up at 6 AM so that I could practice piano. It worked perfect for our family, even for my two brothers who would sleep through it all. So find a time that works for your child and stick to it!

Tip 3: Not All Piano Practice Needs to Occur at the Piano

Piano is more than just playing notes at the piano. Important skills such as working on rhythms or practicing note reading can be done away from the piano keyboard. 

In 101 Piano Practice Tips, Tracy suggests many wonderful apps and websites for practicing music theory, including some that are free. However, I prefer to encourage music theory learning with hands on activities. Here are some creative ways to practice piano without actually practicing at the piano. Just click on the link above the photo to read more about it.

Music theory games for kids - practice note reading with cars from And Next Comes L

Music theory games for kids using chalk from And Next Comes L

DIY Music Rocks for learning about music theory from And Next Comes L

Explore music theory with these simple drum games from And Next Comes L

Music theory games for kids from And Next Comes L

Music theory games for kids with a DIY grand staff from And Next Comes L

Music theory game for kids on the light table from And Next Comes L

Want More Piano Practice Tips?

I highly recommend downloading 101 Piano Practice Tips as it offers lots of creative ideas for encouraging piano practice. I particularly enjoyed the chapter with the tips from kids because, let's face it, kids say some pretty awesome (and hilarious) things. I also loved the section on music apps because I frequently have parents asking for suggestions. Now I have a great resource to suggest to them. I also love that the book is easy to read, making it a great book to reference, especially if you need a fresh new practicing strategy for your child.

101 Piano Practice Tips is available for Kindle. And don't worry if you don't have a Kindle! You can read this book on your computer or on mobile devices using the free Kindle app.

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  1. Thanks Dyan! Such cute ideas here. I love the Race Car Game! :)

  2. Fun ideas here! Will schedule and share on my GrowingHearts FB. : ) My son will be delighted!

    1. Thank you for sharing! I appreciate it.