Playing the piano is a wonderful skill, one that most parents would like their children to obtain. But that is easier said then done. Selecting the piano and right teacher can be difficult but the real challenge is getting your child to practice. Becoming a skilled pianist will take effort, patience, and perseverance from both the child, and the parent. Here are a few tips and tricks to get your child to practice without too much resistance.
Praise your child
It is important to praise your little maestro often. Listen to them play and look for ways to genuinely compliment your child's ability. The more you praise them, the better they will feel about their ability, and the more they will like it and want to improve. Also, look for opportunities to compliment them in front of others.
Listen to them practice
Every now and then, actually sit down and listen to them play. Don't act like the teacher and point out faults or give advice. Just be present and show them that they care about what they are working on. This may take a lot of patience on your part but it shows that you are being supportive. You don't have to sit there during every practice session but try to listen to their practicing even when you are busy in the next room, so that you can praise them on their improvement.
Charts work great with young children. You can set the chart up anyway you like, giving them a sticker for every time they sit down at the piano or for a certain number of times they have played a song. Whatever you do, place it where other people can see it.
Everyone loves recognition and it is a quick way to give positive reinforcement. Also, it is helpful to associate rewards with the chart. The rewards can be in the form of candy, presents, or activities. Just make sure that the reward is something out of the ordinary.
Let your child help make the rules
Sit down with your child and agree on a time when they will practice and determine how each session should go and what the rewards will be. This helps them feel involved in the decision making process and less like they are being told what to do. Since they agreed on the predetermined time, there should be less resistance when it comes time to get down to it.
It is most effective when they time their session for the same amount each day at the same time. It also helps if you plan a session before activities they want to do such as playing outside or watching a certain TV show. You can make these favored activities contingent on whether they have practiced the piano.
Let them play fun songs
Don't insist that they only play the classics or work of scales and theory. Speak with the teacher about letting your young one play popular or familiar songs. When they recognize the song they are playing and they like it, they will be more motivated to practice it and improve it.
Children have more fun and feel more confident when they are able to play songs that people recognize and are impressed by. No matter what song they are working on, their skills will improve and it will be easier for them to play all other songs.
In all your efforts to encourage your child, include the piano teacher. That way you will be on the same page and working together to motivate your child to practice the piano. Becoming skilled at the piano doesn't happen overnight, but slowly your child will improve.
As their skills improve, the child will become more confident about their abilities and will actually like to play and practice the piano and at that point, your job will finally get easier. But until then, you must remain patient and persevere. Your children will thank you for it one day.
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