lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink."
applies to kids and piano practice, as well as the proverbial horse.
You can set
a length of time, say, twenty minutes, for piano practice, and enforce it
rigorously. The result will be much like the horse: they'll sit by the
pond for twenty minutes, but they'll only drink the water if they're
piano teacher's solution to this problem is to instill guilt in the
child, hoping that will make them work.
My view is
that fear and guilt are not proper associates for a child's exploration
of music via the piano.
If a piano
teacher buys a child's attention with guilt, the truth is that they are
unsuited to be a child's piano teacher.
back to the horse.
what they are thirsty for. Kids are thirsty for fun, period.
Fun is one
element that children will unfailingly respond to.
one's success as a piano teacher is measured by the ability to disguise
routine music learning tasks as games. Games are inherently fun, and
almost any musical task can be hidden within one.
consider the lessons themselves. If they are dry, slow, full of talk and
endless illustrations of things that have no meaning to a child, the child
will zone out, and take that empty feeling home with them. Don't expect
them to build on that empty feeling of failure in their home practice
sessions. It won't ever happen.
lessons are dry and lifeless, they will not willingly approach the piano
by themselves. Such kids will only play when pressured to by an adult in a
position of power.
that the lessons are enjoyable, you have a chance of getting the child to
play on their own. My view is to not force practice as an issue at first.
Allow them to interest themselves in the piano as they would with a new
insist on practice, the piano is no longer their toy.
music the child is practicing must be recognizable songs that everyone
knows. For all of my affection for the Bastien Series of books, a key
failing is that almost none of the songs in the very beginning series are
needs the self-esteem boost of playing a song they love and want to learn,
and that they can play for everyone, announcing, "Hey, look, I can play
sometimes happens, they ask for RHAPSODY IN BLUE, be clever enough to
arrange it in a language they can readily understand. Here is the Rhapsody
in Piano by Number:
5 6 7
The point is
to give the child some reason to practice. Here are several things
conventional piano teachers assume, to the detriment of their students:
assume that kids have some grasp of deferred gratification. They
assume kids like repetition of things that are not fun. They don't
assume that kids will practice to please the teacher. They won't.
assume that kids will practice to please the parent. They won't
you see it coming? Who is the one person that kids want most to please?
until you convince them with actual deeds and experiences that piano is
fun for THEM, they have no reason to practice at all.
if you have given them no reason other than guilt and fear to practice,
don't expect them to practice those emotions willingly at the piano at
child doesn't want to practice, look to the teacher. They may well be
spinning their wheels, going from page to page, unable or unwilling to be
creative enough to interest the child as an individual.
If a child
does not play piano on their own, they are not interested.
teacher who makes the piano interesting, and then worry about practice
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