Helping Students Practice at Home
By: Christina Mathis
Practicing at home. These words tend to fill most parents with dread, bring up questions of how they can help, or they just really stress you out. And as a piano teacher, that’s the last thing I want! You are a vital part of your child’s education, and I am here to help make your job easier when it comes to getting your student to practice.
So, how do you help your child practice?
Now that you have a few ideas for helping your child practice, how do you know what they’re supposed to be practicing? This will depend on your child’s teacher. Ask for detailed instructions. I can pretty much guarantee that he or she will LOVE you for this!
As a general rule, I suggest practicing the day after a lesson so that the information is still fresh on the student’s mind. I ask my beginner students to play through each piece 3 times every time they sit down to practice. (3 times a day, 5 days a week is my ideal for beginners.) This is incredibly simple but very effective. Older students will require more time depending on the level and difficulty of the pieces. By about 9 or 10 years old, students should be writing down practice instructions during their lesson time. If they are not, ask their teacher to pass along what was covered during the lesson and how they need to practice at home.
Lastly, remember that you, your child, and their teacher are on a team and are working together for your child. Communication is KEY! If you don’t understand what your child is learning, ask to sit in on a few lessons. If you have any questions about how to help your child at home, just ask! Teachers LOVE having involved parents!
Happy practicing to you all!
Christina Mathis is a classically trained pianist with a Bachelor of Arts in Piano Performance from Judson College in Marion, Alabama. Christina has extensive experience as a church musician, collaborative pianist, & music educator. She has been teaching private piano lessons for more than 25 years & in private schools throughout Alabama for 13 years as a classroom music teacher & choral director. She currently teaches private lessons at her home studio & is pursuing a Master of Arts in Music Education from Liberty University Online & national teaching certification from the National Federation of Music Clubs. Christina lives in Decatur, Alabama, where she is pianist at First Baptist Church Decatur, choral pianist & piano teacher at Austin High School, & staff accompanist at University of North Alabama in Florence.
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