How Do I Get My Child To Practice Piano?
Parents often ask, "How do I get my child to practice piano?" There is only one way. Have the child play a song they really love and want to play. Every child has songs and tunes they love. It may be a theme to a cartoon or game, or a famous film theme.
In most cases it will be a song from popular culture, although some kids already have a knowledge of classical music and will want to play that style, too. Whatever the song is, your child's piano teacher has to be clever enough to translate that song into a musical language the child can readily understand. Use numbers, sheet music, or by ear and eye.
Simplify Music For The Child
The value of numbers is that any song, no matter how complex, can be translated into a language that the child can readily understand and begin playing instantly. In addition, the song will have to be simplified to suit the ability of the child.
Don't make the mistake of adding detail that will only confuse a child. What matters is that, even with one finger, the child can play the song and be proud of it.
Add Detail Later
Detail can always be added later when the child has confidence. Using a familiar song produces confidence: a child who can play a recognizable melody is saying, "Hey, I can do this, in my own way, and it's fun."
Once you establish that playing songs is fun, the child is ready for a wider piano experience. The teacher must find songs that truly interest the child. You can forget the "songs" in the standard books like Alfred, Bastien and the other currently popular books. These fake pieces are poisonous to a child's interest in the piano, and produce minimal skill with maximum resentment and frustration.
For most kids, these exercise pieces are all they play. So stop wondering why 90% of the kids fed this diet quit, and quickly.
Throw Out The Books
I remember teaching a family of three kids, and their friends were over to play. The friends looked at what we were playing. We played popular songs the kids all knew. The visiting kids said, "Gosh, that looks fun. We only get to play that stuff from the books." Every skill at the piano can be taught using familiar songs rather than the boring exercise pieces that most children are given to play.
So if you're wondering why your child won't go to the piano without nagging, perhaps the repertoire should change. Giving boring "cardboard" music (the "learning" stuff in the conventional books) to kids is like giving them food they hate, and expecting them to eat it with gusto.
Using familiar songs in piano lessons gives the child the advantage of confidence and enthusiasm, and soon produces spectacular results borne of their own motivation: to play the songs they love.