How To Motivate Children To Practice Piano
The piano is a magnificent instrument which, when we plunge our fingers into the keyboard, gives us sounds on which we can either improvise or play a piece already composed, the score of which is in front of us. Yes, but here it is: how can we do it so that the fingers and head can easily link notes to each other for our greatest satisfaction, with the result that we can play a piece of our choice?
When a child learns to play the piano, in most cases he or she will be helped by a older person: a guide. A teacher or family member (parents, brother or sister, aunt, uncle, grandmother or grandfather…etc) will show him how to do it. Between one lesson and the next, so that new information and reflexes can be put in place and assimilated, there is no other solution than to repeat a passage several times, or even the whole piece according to the instructions given by the “guide” during the lesson. Only then will progress be recorded.
How Can You Stimulate A Child To Do This?
1) Always keep in mind that to make progress, you should never count the number of hours spent in front of the instrument. You can train daily for 3 hours without any benefit. As it is not difficult to understand, if someone plays without concentrating, not only does he not learn anything, but he will learn more and more seriously: he will learn better and better the mistakes he makes repeatedly and that he does not correct for lack of vigilance or good method. Sometimes, 5 minutes in a state of total concentration is better than 1 hour elsewhere. Every day, at the time of day chosen for a training session, we must reassess the energy level at our disposal. We will adapt to our fluctuating state (since we are not machines, are we?).
2) As for weekly classes, I advise my students to think carefully about how to organize their week and to plan their exercise time differently each day according to the other activities of the day. Often I have seen parents demand one hour of daily training from their child without taking into consideration the child’s state of fatigue. It never works well in the long run, at least in my experience.
Do Not Give Up
But you shouldn’t give up a day off from time to time, without feeling guilty. Having days off allows you to take your mind off things and return to the piano with a little distance, which will mature what you were learning. It goes without saying that too many consecutive days of leave result in the loss of all the gains made at the cost of long efforts before.
But it is also important to understand that it is very difficult to make progress on the piano if you train a few times a week.
The secret is regularity. Just as we get into the habit of brushing our teeth after every meal, so we get used to playing regularly during the week. Habits settle faster than you think.
3) Sometimes it is the child who has wanted to play the piano, other times it is the parents who have chosen this activity for him, wishing for a complementary formation of life, an enriching and stimulating journey. They are quite right, in my opinion! But for the child to play the chosen instrument with pleasure, he must gradually build his own world far away with music; a universe that belongs to him, a privileged, living world, with characters and landscapes that the music will reveal to him. He will be a resident of the “Planet Music” in a way.
Go To The Bookstore
And to create this world, I would advise to show him and read with him books for the little ones (and not so little ones) on musical subjects. In bookshops, in the children’s section, there are books on composers or instruments. It could also be stimulating to watch other children of the same age play, live or on the Internet, why not? There are now many comic films on the web lasting a few minutes with pianists who delight us with their sketches.
If your child is having fun spontaneously by playing improvisation games or creating his own songs, encourage him to develop this practice and especially to make you hear them. In this way, music will inhabit his imagination, which will continue to develop.
4) We all live through the eyes of others and this is even more important when it comes to the eyes of our loved ones. To be stimulated, a child needs to know if you think he or she has made progress.
Don’t necessarily accompany him during his training session (or only at the very beginning; he must gradually take responsibility) but don’t forget to show him that he has listened to him and tell him if he has improved this or that aspect of his game or his piece. He will know that he did not do it in vain and his efforts are visible.
Highlighting his progress is a key element that will enhance his self-esteem and, at the same time, make him want to persevere.
5) In the same vein, I suggest that you organize mini-concerts with him in which he can show what he has learned. To start: in front of his favorite dolls or stuffed animals…… If it doesn’t frighten him, in front of one or more people in the family with whom he feels comfortable. And if he does not object, in front of others who are part of a wider circle of acquaintances. In this way, the learning of one or more pieces has a stimulating and enriching purpose, especially if point 4) reinforces this experience.
Adults who play the piano can apply the same advice with the same benefits (less stuffed animals… or maybe not)
In my article “The key to making progress” I explain how to learn a song with real results that can be seen quickly.
Feel free to share your experiences with me or ask me questions.