The piano, like any instrument, is a form of art — and art cannot be rushed — it must be felt. A child being able to learn the piano at a young age is a wonderful thing — it allows for an outlet of creativity, self-expression, and musical talent. However, it’s not always that easy to get a child to practice the piano when they don’t want to. Here are a few things to keep in mind if you want your little one to one day become a talented pianist.
Remember: every child is different
If children were all the same, parenting would be easy! Your child is unique, and he or she will respond uniquely to any technique you may throw at them. Some children respond very well to a rigid structure — a demarcated daily time slot to practice piano (that is completely immovable and non-negotiable) works very well for children that aren’t the most self-motivated. Once such a structure is built into place, it becomes a habit, and after a few weeks, you will find that your child automatically gravitates towards the piano once the clock strikes the stated time. Of course, there are also children that prefer (and respond better to) a more free-flow structure with a daily quota of practice time. As the parent, you know best — find out which type your child is, and get the system in place. It’ll become hard to keep them away from the piano!
The carrot is always better than the stick
Since playing the piano isn’t a chore that has to be done, punishments are the last thing you want to incorporate into your child’s musical journey. As mentioned before, music is art, and you certainly do not want to create a negative association with music in your child’s mind. It will serve only to hinder growth, and will psychologically push your child away from music. Instead of punishments, it’s best to put in place some sort of reward system (so that your child mentally creates a positive link with playing the piano). When your child meets the practice quota or follows the timetable, praise them and give them something special. As their musical journey progresses, you will find that there will come a point where they will no longer need to be rewarded. This usually happens when they watch their practice and hard work come to fruition.
Provide easy access to resources
There are children all over the world who really want to learn the piano but may not necessarily be able to. Never let this become a problem for your child — any sort of barrier will only serve to hinder the learning process. Instead, provide a wealth of resources for your child to learn to their heart’s desire. If your child has a limited quota of Internet access, then extend this quota to accommodate online piano lessons or video lessons. If your child asks for piano lessons from your local music school, don’t hesitate — even if the lessons aren’t ongoing, a small amount of time with a professional music tutor can go a very long way. Of course, be sure to provide music books and practice notebooks if requested. Having an open environment where your child is able to ask for whatever they need in order to learn the piano is an invaluable aspect. Also, none of these resources have to break the bank — there are services out there that provide interactive piano lessons, online workbooks, tutorials, and more at unfairly low price points. One great example is Skoove, which even includes 25 free piano lessons.
Create the passion for piano
If your child is passionate about something, you will never need to encourage them to do it for a single day — they will do it autonomously. Perhaps the best way to encourage your child to practice piano is to show them the potential results of doing so. Does your child have a favourite song? Perfect — show them the piano tutorial of that song on your phone and seat them in front of the piano. More often than not, their desire to learn the song will overcome any inhibitions they have regarding playing the piano. You can try this with their favourite movie’s soundtrack as well, or maybe even a nursery rhyme.
All you need here is the initial push to ignite the passion for creating music. Soon, your child will realize that they’re able to play their favourite songs as long as they put in the practice hours. As you may know, there are few things more rewarding than watching practice turn into skills — as your child sees their musical skills improving, they will automatically be incentivized to learn more. They will practice harder and learn more skills, thus improving their ability to express musically. Once you create the passion for piano within your child, there’s little more to be done!
Want to learn more about how to encourage your child to practice piano? Check out Skoove’s post on the topic by clicking this sentence!