“For Parents”

How often should my child practice?

This is a question without a precise answer. The amount of practice your child requires is directly related to his or her age, personality and performance level. Generally, I like to emphasize a quality practice session at least 5 days a week. Waiting to practice until the day (or hour) before the lesson usually does not produce the desired results. As a rule, I recommend on a daily basis at least 10-15 minutes for the beginner; 15-30 minutes for the intermediate student and 30-45 minutes for the advanced student. Some will require 1-2 hours per day. It is a good idea to establish a certain time of the day for this practice session to help promote piano practicing as a habit. The time of day for this practice session is, of course, dependent on the student’s personality and his or her other commitments.

How can I help my child if I do not know anything about music?

Good piano players do not always produce Beethoven offspring. Many times, “informed” parents can be overly critical with their own children. The most important thing you as a parent can do is to provide a lot of support and show an interest in their weekly lessons. Try to take the time to listen to their lesson and check their notebook to make sure they are following instructions. If your child is very frustrated with a lesson and you cannot help him, please feel free to call me/text me and I will try to answer any questions you may have. Always compliment your child when he or she plays a piece that sounds nice to you. This will help him feel good about his progress.

What if my child loses interest in the piano? Should I let him quit?

It is not uncommon for students to occasionally go into a slump. Usually it is best to just ride it out for a while. However, if the situation persists and life is becoming unpleasant for all the parties involved, please call me. Hopefully, we can work out a solution.

Books are so expensive. Is it possible to “get by” using just one book and assigning more from that book?

Theoretically, this is a possibility. In actuality, however, it is almost impossible for one book to cover all areas of music adequately. I recommend having at least three books: one general music course book, one technic book, and one theory book. Exposure to a variety of music helps maintain interest and inhibit boredom. Feel free to send to lessons any music you have at home that you feel your child could use. I’ll check it over and use what I can.

Is it really necessary to fill in those theory books?

I have a feeling that theory books have been a nemesis to students since the invention of the piano. I feel the theory books are a vital reinforcement of the concepts they are using in their piano playing. I try to not assign overwhelming amounts of theory in each lesson. Please encourage your child to do a little bit at a time. Hopefully, this will make it less painful.

It is necessary for my child to perform in recitals and contests?

Recitals and contests are beneficial to students because they provide the challenge of working up a piece to perfection and memorizing it. They also give them a chance to perform in public. Although I strongly encourage all my students to participate in these activities, I do not force anyone to do so. You know your child’s personality and goals better than I do and I rely on you to help them make their decision.

Are piano lessons really worth all the effort involved?

As a piano instructor and music lover, I have to answer with an emphatic YES! But, I do feel we need to put it in perspective. It is important for you and your child to assess his or her goals in music. Does your child want to be an accompanist or a performer? Or, is your child primarily interested in playing for his or her own enjoyment? Each of these goals is legitimate and will determine the amount of effort needed to attain it. Remember that the amount of positive exposure to music your child receives is directly related to the amount of enjoyment he or she will receive from music in the future.

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