We continue our series on how to support your child's piano practice at home with more practical tips from Dr Christopher Fisher, pianist, piano teacher and piano parent, with a few ideas thrown in from me for good measure!
Remember to be specific and praise effort and not 'intelligence' or 'cleverness'. Children need to learn that good results come from effort which they are in control of, not some elusive talent that some people have and others don't.
For example, 'I was so impressed how you persevered the other day when you felt really frustrated that you couldn't do x. You persevered and got it and I was so proud of you'. Or mention the strategy they used that helped them succeed.
Have your child bring their favourite soft toy to the piano and play for it, asking 'could you play this piece for your teddy and make it sound peaceful, like a lullaby, let's see if teddy can fall asleep'. You hold teddy and make it fall asleep!
These are great ways to get repetition (only accept correct repetitions, use a practice strategy) which is what leads to great progress.
Tap the rhythm of the piece on their back and get them to work out which piece / song it is and then play it. Get them to do one for you to recognise. Can you play it too?!
Roll a dice and the number it lands on is:
Use a two minute timer and get your child to concentrate on one piece for that long (great for younger children). Stop when the timer's up, even if you're tempted to keep going - it's what you said you'd do and it's a bit fun if you're made to stop when you want to carry on - there's always later / tomorrow to carry on.
Mid-week recordings for the teacher
Make a mid-week recording for me. Send me something your child has been practicing / has accomplished, or is struggling with. I will watch it and send feedback as soon as I can.
Director of Surrey Music School.