Five “To Do’s” Before Piano Lessons

I subscribe to a daily e-newsletter that provided tips, best practice info, and other interesting things to enhance piano teaching. Today’s posting was particularly interesting and is a ‘must read’ for all parents of not only piano students, but all music students! Enjoy and please feel free to post your comments in response to this article!!

5 THINGS PARENTS SHOULD DO BEFORE DRIVING TO PIANO LESSONS

One of the most important things we can do as teachers is to act as assistants to piano parents. Sharing information, resources, and advice, and being readily available for dialogue is important not only for the health of your studio, but for the benefit of your piano students. And the best time to share tips with piano parents is before a problem arises.

So, to make sure your piano students are always chomping at the bit to get to lessons, share these five easy-to-implement strategies with your parents so they never have to deal with pre-lesson melt-downs and wonder if the piano is the problem.

  1. Don’t Make Piano Lessons The Bad Guy: While not always possible, it is best if parents attempt to keep “Piano Lesson Day” as “Piano Lesson Day” only. They should avoid pulling their children away from another beloved activity, interrupting playdates, packing up from a picnic, leaving early from other extracurricular activities, and even abruptly turning off a favorite TV show. All of these situations cause children to feel as though they are missing out on something by attending piano lessons. If, however, piano lessons are the chosen activity for the day, they become the opportunity for fun and excitement.
  2. Don’t “Rush and Cram”: Parents should avoid having their children cram in a rushed practice session right before a piano lesson. Children won’t have adequate time for the practice session process, making their mistakes seem magnified under a ticking time-limit and causing stress. Children who haven’t already just spent 30 minutes at the piano at home are more focused students in lessons.
  3. Set Them Up For Success: Children who are well-rested and well-fed learn best. When possible, parents should allow after-school time for their children to decompress, eat a healthy, protein-filled snack and receive one-on-one parental attention. A physically, mentally and emotionally balanced child is a happy piano student.
  4. Keep Up With Current Events: Before leaving for piano lessons, parents should remind their children of all the fun things that will be happening in their lessons. To be able to accomplish this task, parents need to read their children’s lesson notes and weekly communications to gain insight into studio activities.
  5. Address Unrelated Anxieties: Unaddressed anxiety can be debilitating for a child and confusing for an uninformed teacher. If piano parents have children who experience separation anxiety, school-based stress, or family-related challenges, it is important that these issues are addressed prior to a piano lesson. Bringing calm and clear children to the studio is essential for musical development. And, if calm and clear children are not always a possibility, then piano parents should inform the teacher of problems and challenges so support and understanding is easier to provide.

Reprinted from Teach Piano Today (www.teachpianotoday.com)

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