Children can’t see the big picture but adults can. It’s up to parents to get the ball rolling so that the child can build skills and successes and realise that hard work leads to successful and enjoyable music making
How do they get to a stage where they can play easily and effortlessly? By practicing of course. But you can’t just tell a young child (under 12 but maybe older depending on the child) to go and practice the piano when they get home from their lesson, just like you couldn’t tell them ‘the toilet’s down the hall, off you go’ when you were potty training them. If you want your child to develop a love of music they need your support on a daily basis. If your child sees you not prioritising piano or music, they won’t either and you won’t get the lifelong love of music you’re looking for for your child. Remember progress won’t happen without practice and practice won’t happen unless you make it happen.
If you do know about music or had piano lessons as a child remember things have changed in the last 20 years and the lessons your child has will most likely look nothing like those you experienced. Ask the teacher questions about why if you like, but you will see for yourself how much better things are these days (with well qualified teachers who keep their skills up to date). Or read about what good quality music lessons look like here.
Many families today are very busy with both parents working and children taking part in many extra curricular activities. But if you want to see progress and joyful music making to ensure they love what they are doing and don’t want to quit then making good quality practice a priority is essential. For young beginners this may look like 5 minutes 3 times a day. If you’re not going to have time to do this at least 5 times a week then your child is not going to make good progress and is at risk of becoming demotivated because of that.
At Surrey Music School we only accept families who are able to commit to this level of practice because it leads to the best possible outcome for the child – a love of music and joyful music making. We can almost guarantee your child will love the music they are learning because we only use the most up to date methods, keep our skills well honed through ongoing professional development and are able to respond to each child’s needs. We also provide parents with everything they need to support their child at home, particularly workshops where we teach you how to make practice fun and where you can ask questions and get support. We are in the process of setting up a closed Facebook group which will also be a source of support, from us and other parents.
Next time we will look at how parental views, habits and expectations affect their children’s music making and the following we will look at how Surrey Music School supports parents with practice at home. Don’t worry, you’re not alone – we do everything in our power to help you do the best job you can do.
In the meantime please click below to download this excellent e-book '7 Practice Hats for Parents' from The Curious Piano Teachers about your many roles as a piano parent and, if you’re thinking of signing your child up for lessons be prepared to take on all these roles. Remember the goal – joyful music making – it won’t happen unless you put the work in from the start.
Director of Surrey Music School.