Practicing is an integral part of learning the piano, for anyone. Just as with anything else we do, the amount of time invested in practicing and playing the piano will determine how quickly we are able to get comfortable with and successful at all of the different parts of piano playing.
While adults are more used to tackling new projects and hobbies independently, kids are just starting out, and need more supervision in terms of developing and sustaining good practice habits.
Parents and teachers both agree that one of the challenges in learning the piano is practicing and getting kids to practice throughout each week. After all, practicing is in reality work and children seem to learn that pretty quickly after they start piano lessons.
Why is it so important that we help children develop good practice habits?
Well, because there are just so many valuable benefits from developing good practice habits!
Here are some of the main ones:
You see…good practice habits create the potential for other good habits to take root in other areas of our lives. (One of the many benefits of learning the piano!) Each of these qualities is used in all areas of our lives.
How can we get children to practice then, even when they don’t want to? “All work and no play, make children stay away”
The key to getting children engaged and enjoying their practicing is by having fun!
One of the best ways to create a fun practice session for young children is by playing games.
Games not only create challenges for them to tackle, they also set up a reward system for achieving each goal.
Anyone can come up with a game fairly quickly based on what their child is working on at the moment, and games can be adapted to fit with different types of technical studies in more than one piece.
Here are a few examples of games you can play with your child or student during a piano lesson or practice session:
Get a Hug Game – Great for very young children
Set a specific goal for your child, such as to play 2 measures of a piece, or practice for 5 minutes, and each time he or she does that successfully, they get to come and get a hug from you.
Roll the Die Game – Great for any age child
Have a die next to the piano, and before they practice a certain passage by repetition, have them roll the die to see how many times they have to play it successfully. Once they’ve accomplished that goal, reward them with a treat or another hug for positive reinforcement.
M&M’s Game – again, fun for any age
Have a brown bag of M&M’s handy. (Brown, so they can’t see inside) When your child is ready to practice, have them quickly reach inside and grab some of the M&M’s. However many they pull out, is how many times they have to play the passage that they’re working on. You don’t want to have too many in the bag to begin with, so they won’t pull out 25 the first time. J Make sure they get to eat the M&M’s once they’ve accomplished the goal. *If you’re health conscious, you can use raisins or nuts instead*
There are several online sites that offer free piano games for your child. Take a look at some of these if you are running out of creative ideas on your own.
The key to any game being successful is making sure that it includes a goal, which is the specific challenge to be completed, and a fun reward.
This is very different from just promising a reward to your child for practicing.
This method involves getting involved their practicing while they are doing it and then providing the reward after. Part of the success of using games is the fact that the teacher or parent is participating with the child in the activity.
Give some of these different ideas and games a try the next time your child or student is working on something that they aren’t that excited about. Adding fun into learning is one of the best ways to overcome anxiety about tackling something new or even just not wanting to “go to work” as practicing is, and it will keep your child learning and moving forward with their piano playing.
Stay tuned to LessonsOnTheWeb and learn much more!
Most blogs written by