Thursday, September 10, 2015

Music Tip - Practicing Helps

I just got back from visiting my son's family and was surprised at how all three of my grandchildren had progressed so quickly in playing the piano since I had last heard them play.  I asked my daughter-in-law what had happened and she said, "they have to practice 30 minutes a day." 
 Well, there's a no-brainer.  That is what I have been saying for years, as a piano teacher.  But here is a family who is actually doing it and it works!  You can see progress when you practice 30 minutes a day!!

Sounds easy.... just go tell your child to practice the piano for 30 minutes.  But you and I know that just telling a child to go practice and having it instantly and happily done is NOT GOING TO HAPPEN!

So here's the back story of the spurt of progression, at least this is what happened for my 7 year old grandson.  He complained about practicing, he wanted to take guitar or singing lessons instead, and he became uncooperative at home and at lessons. It just so happened that he also wanted an ipod.  Ahhhh, the perfect item to use for positive reinforcement.  And that's exactly what my daughter-in-law used.  "Son, I would love to buy you an ipod .  But you have to earn it and this is how: practice cheerfully for 30 minutes a day (5 days a week until Christmas)."

Not all piano stories end up happily like this one. Some children still won't cooperate.  Some parents refuse to "bribe" their children (when in fact it it NOT bribing).  Sometimes the reward loses it's appeal.  But it is certainly worth the try. Also, in my grandson's case, his teacher had to give him some fun songs that appealed to him.  He used a timer so he knew how long to practice.  He found he had to play his songs for more repetitions than he had before, to use up the full 30 minutes. He started to enjoy playing the piano!

It takes time to learn something new.  Time.  Repetition.  Consistency.  
And a little positive reinforcement along the way.....

Thanks for reading,

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