Making the Most of Your Investment in Piano Lessons
February 14, 2014
Some ideas on making the most of your investment in piano lessons...
1. Remember (most likely) you, the parent, chose this activity for your child. It is your investment in them and you want to get the best return on your choice and investment that you can.
2. Create a rich musical environment in the home. Play a variety of genres of music. You don’t even have to purchase CDs to do this these days. Go to Pandora and search classical, or piano, or jazz, or big band, or orchestral, or a certain composer, or performer. Expose your family to lots of great music. Consider going to live performances when possible. In the Bay Area there are so many cultural opportunities and any price (including free). Take advantage of them. Make music a happy part of every day life.
3. Play the Suzuki CD everyday. From beginning to end. While the child is near and can hear it. Occasionally make it active listening instead of just background music. Ideas for making it active listening include: listening for specific things in the music (maybe the things that the teacher pointed out in the lesson?); singing with the music (every child should be able to sing every song); making a drawing of the sound; moving to the music; following the score.
4. Develop the habit of practicing. Do at least 10 minutes 6 days a week without fail. Do it at a routine time. Practice should definitely be longer than 10 minutes, but 10 minutes on a routine basis is much better than an hour once a week. The goal is to practice for at least as long as your lesson is. It doesn’t have to be in one sitting.
5. Sit with your child while he practices. That is a special time where your child gets you all to himself. If the child is older and is less than enthusiastic about your involvement just sit (while you knit or fold socks or whatever) near the child so that they know practicing is important to you.
6. Be Positive. Practice with your child and give specific positive feedback. Acknowledge the effort. Praise the achievement. Appreciate each step no matter how small.
7. Repetition is important. Keep all repertoire current. This requires reviewing pieces that the student already knows. Use this repetition to improve tone, technic, phrasing, dynamics, etc. One can nearly always make a piece better.
8. Communication. Suzuki Method requires teamwork between the student, parent, and teacher. We all have the student’s best interest at heart. We all want piano lessons to be a positive experience for the student. Let’s have a constant conversation going on between all involved.
There you go. Just some ideas I’ve had over the past couple of weeks that I finally go onto paper. I look forward to seeing you and your student at lessons!