Young children are usually VERY enthusiastic when they first start piano lessons. They have a new book, maybe a new piano or keyboard and as they approach the world of piano music they feel as if they are entering a magical place.
They are! The world of piano IS magical and can be such a wonderful and amazing place. It is also, sometimes, a slightly confusing and difficult place. Children often forget what they have been told during their weekly lesson and can then feel frustrated, leading to a loss of interest.
So, how can we make it easier for them?
Here are five ideas:
- Give them very small, easy tasks. Typically teachers may suggest that a piece should be practiced hands separately or hands together, or that a student should just keep playing a piece until they can do it faster or without mistakes. Whilst doing this would result in improvement many children will get bored with this type of instruction. Much better is to focus on one small section of a piece. Maybe to get the ending really good, and maybe to add a few notes of their own to the written ending. It often works to repeat the last note one octave higher.
- Link practice time with another regular and enjoyable event in their schedule. For example, if they always do a bit of practice just before they have breakfast they will eventually begin to feel that practice leads to a reward, even if breakfast isn’t actually the reward for practice.
- Use pictures to aid memory. If they are finding it difficult to read the music or to remember the names of the notes on the keyboard it may help to put some stickers on the keys. These ones are great as each one has a picture of how the note appears when it is appears in written music. Once on the keys they look really colourful and the smiley faces in each letter will really encourage
children to go to AND stay at the piano.
Click here to buy your own set of stickers from Amazon
- Make sure that the books that they are learning from are fun. They should be colourful with lots of pictures and ideas for alternate musical activities such as quizzes and puzzles. The tunes they are learning should be well within their ability as young children just do not know how to cope if they are given too big a challenge and will just give up if they find it too hard.
- Keep them company. Children love to be the centre of attention and are naturally sociable. So the very best way to make practice enjoyable is to join in and do it with them! If you are not sure what you need to be doing ask their teacher if they can to write down in a notebook what they should be practicing each week.