We all know the saying "practice makes perfect" - while that's true and highlights the importance of practicing in order to play better, the real goal for practicing is to make progress while having fun! Something that a piano instructor, a student, and the student's family have in common is we all want them to succeed and reach their goals! With learning anything new, the timeline for the progress you make is completely dependent on how much time and effort you put in. Of course you can continue to make progress over time, but without consistent practice it will be delayed or slow.
Our accelerated method, with consistent at-home practice, gets you through your music faster so that you can play the songs you love sooner!
HOW PARENTS CAN HELP
When it comes to at-home practice, families can feel unsure of how to help encourage good habits and a desire to practice. Some believe the student will have a love to practice naturally or else it means they don't enjoy piano - but actually, that is far from the truth! A love for piano does not always mean a love for practicing at home between lessons. That's where support and boundaries from family can come in to help guide a student and build good discipline.
Here are some ideas to help your student with practicing and maybe even excite them to put their hands on the piano a little more each week!
1. Creative Space = Happy Musician! : Little things to make this time more enjoyable, and even an escape, can go a long way! Placing the piano or keyboard in a quiet room with few distractions can help with focus, and your student can feel like they can get away in their practice time. If you have a keyboard, they can plug in earphones to create this experience as well.
2. Consistency is Key: Creating a consistent schedule for your student will help make practice a priority, especially on days when schedules get busy or life gets overwhelming! Making it a part of their schedule, like homework or TV time, will make it be seen as a priority rather than an expendable part of their life between lessons. Get creative in keeping a practice calendar or making it part of their list of daily activities!
3. Put on a show!: Students love to show off songs that they're proud of! Ask them to put on a performance for you or the whole family of something they've learned that they enjoy playing or are just proud of themselves for completing.
4. Practicing is a luxury, not a chore: When practice seems like an extension of homework, it is dreaded and seen as punishment. Maybe put some reminders or quotes on the wall near their piano to be creative and get inspired! Music is art, not long division! It is an escape from the mundane when you can shut the world out for a few minutes and just play.
5. The MAPL Difference: Our students learn their music in their lessons which takes the stress out of their time at home! Instead of learning songs on their own like in other lessons, their at-home practice only requires repetition of what they know! This solidifies concepts and technique in their fingers faster and creates a strong foundation to build on!
6. Reflect and Redirect: Just because a student doesn't want to practice sometimes doesn't mean they don't like piano! Sometimes this can be an indicator of lack of direction - this would be a great time for them to talk to their instructor about exciting new music or performance opportunities to work towards! Get a book full of songs you love, or better yet try something new! You never know the potential it could unlock.
FAQ: How much time should my student practice? I get this question a lot! It really is more about being consistent - 10 to 15 minutes daily is a fantastic goal! Or maybe go a little longer, like 20 minutes, 5 times a week. It doesn't have to be tons of time - however long it takes to play their assigned song(s) a few times through is enough!
True, practicing is not the exciting, flashy part of learning the piano. However those hours spent playing at home are the foundation for a love of the instrument and an appreciation for music. The discipline of at-home practice not only makes them a better musician but also teaches them the worth of hard work and dedication - and allows them to play the music they love and have fun doing it! It's one of the best experiences they could have!