How To Return To Piano Lessons After Summer Break

How To Return To Piano Lessons After Summer Break

Summertime. It’s a time for relaxing, playing with your friends, and spending time at the swimming pool. It’s a time for summer vacations, and for leaving your cares behind for at least a little while.

For most families, that also means forgetting normal routines. You can start those up again once structure returns to your daily lives. Push aside piano lessons for a bit, and wait until the school year returns. 

But like everything, if you don’t make something a practice, you start to lose your ability. You forget the individual nuances that made your piano practice routine possible. 

Before you return to your weekly piano lessons, slowly bring the piano back into your lives by doing these few things. 

Start with warm-ups

If your child has taken piano lessons for any length of time, they know warm-ups are part of a normal practice. It gets your fingers and wrists into the game, and your mind on what you hope to accomplish. Let your child do a few things they enjoy. Practice scales. Play easy songs. Play music they enjoy. This will give them a positive reason to get back into the piano practice routine. 

Check posture

Kids can grow almost overnight. When was the last time you ensured their piano stool met their needs? Take a few minutes and see how they sit. Are they correctly placed at the keyboard? Also make sure they are sitting properly on the bench. No slouching. 

Check out new games

Every time you look at the app store, new games pop up, ready to be played. Do a quick search and see what’s new. Are there challenging piano games they might enjoy? This can get them back into the basics, and make them want to jump into playing the piano once again. 

Play with a group

Birds of a feather … Chances are if your child enjoys music, they have friends that enjoy it as well. Why not bring the gang together to make music? You can think beyond piano players – violins, guitars, flutes, even the drums can bring variety to practice sessions and allow your child to explore their creativity. Other parents may also enjoy the process. 

Ready To Start Your Child On Piano Lessons This Fall? Do These 5 Things First

Ready To Start Your Child On Piano Lessons This Fall? Do These 5 Things First

Guiding kids in the right direction is a hands-on task. Every year you help them choose classes and sign up for activities that’ll make a difference in their lives. You hope to give them the skills that will make them happy, successful adults. 

Maybe that’s why you’re leaning towards piano lessons for your child. If you’ve done any research, you know it’s a skill that’ll make a difference in their lives from this point forward. It’s the one activity they can continue pursuing until they are 100 years old. 

You’ve made the decision. You’re ready to start your child on piano lessons. What should you do before they walk into the first lesson?

Buy a quality piano

Make sure it’s a quality piano, as you can find so many different options on today’s marketplace. A quality piano should have good tonal quality, be tuned, and provide your child with advancement as they improve. This isn’t something they’ll be able to do on a little toy piano. Acoustic pianos are wonderful options, and they come in a range of sizes and prices. If you want digital, that’s an option too. 

Get an adjustable piano stool

Depending on the age of your child, they will grow quickly. An adjustable piano stool gives them the option of changing the settings as they grow. It’s important to remain comfortable while sitting at the piano to avoid strain and injury while playing. 

Bring piano music into your lives

Depending on your child’s age, they might not realize how the piano is incorporated into today’s music. Let them listen to piano music in a variety of genres. Consider taking them to a concert so they can see the piano in action. Watch YouTube videos from their favorite music, showing them how their idols play the piano too. This sets them up for a desire for learning. 

Set clear expectations

Before they start their first lesson, talk about the experience. Tell them what they’ll face working with a teacher, and expectations at home during the week. Listen to their ideas, and use that to build up a practice routine. Would they prefer before school or after? Length of time doesn’t constitute good practice. Regular practice is better with clearly defined goals for each session. 

Commit to the routine yourself

Kids won’t commit if they don’t feel it from their parents. Set aside the time to ensure your child becomes successful at playing the piano. You can use the time they practice to do something for yourself. This gives you free time too. Or use the time to sit down and listen on occasion. It can be a great way to bond with your child. 

Keep Your Kids Motivated With Piano Lessons With These Tips

Keep Your Kids Motivated With Piano Lessons With These Tips

Want to give your kids a gift? Looking for something that will help them for a lifetime?

Invest in piano lessons. Buy them a new piano.

Playing the piano is something a person can do throughout their lifetime. Any time you sit down and play, you learn something new. 

Of course, you may start your kids off knowing it’s something they can enjoy for a lifetime. But somewhere down the road, it will become a game of wits – they won’t want to practice, and you’ll find any way you can to keep them going. 

“I don’t want to practice.”

“Playing the piano is boring.”

“Why can’t I go outside like my friends?”

Yep, you’ll hear it all. It’s the struggle that every parent has trying to keep their kids engaged in an activity they lose interest in. 

And no matter how much we’d love to tell you there’s an exact science to keeping them playing, there isn’t. But we do have some tips to help increase the odds. 

Find the right piano teacher

Remember back in school how some teachers you loved, others – not so much? It’s called chemistry. We all connect with certain people in the world. And those people, they are the ones that motivate us to do better. In order to keep your kids engaged in playing, you have to find that teacher. The good news is you don’t have to rely on your local community anymore. With virtual learning, your piano teacher can be anywhere in the world. Find someone that “gets” your kids and you’ll find a motivated learner. 

Change practice expectations

Rigid practice times may work for some, but not for everyone. Some players may thrive on playing every day at the same time for a certain time period. Thirty minutes at three o’clock may keep some motivated. But for others, it can feel like quicksand. This is about motivating your child. Maybe they would do better with ten minute increments. A few scales before breakfast. Playing their favorite piece right after lunch. And a few minutes of challenge with something new right before they go out to play. That’s okay. Whatever keeps them playing works. 

The sticker challenge

Kids are motivated by earning prizes. But it doesn’t have to be large to create a sense of fun. Create a star chart and let them earn stickers as they play. Have them cash them in for fun things they enjoy. You can even stick with the music theme and give them opportunities to grow in their studies. New sheet music, downloads from their favorite bands, or even a ticket to a concert can all be great motivators. Plus, it can give you and your child fun outings together. 

Let’s hear from you. What tips do you have for keeping your kids engaged with piano lessons? How do you keep them playing the piano every day? 

Supporting Your Child Through Piano Lessons

Supporting Your Child Through Piano Lessons

Did you play the piano as a child? Were you in the band or orchestra as you made your way through school? It can help you help your child as they take on an instrument of their own. 

But if you have never played an instrument before, and aren’t musically inclined, how can you support your child through piano lessons? 

Practice, practice, practice. The key to becoming better at playing an instrument is to practice. It’s not something you can do here and there; you have to stick with a regular schedule. Don’t get caught up in pushing off practice “until tomorrow.” Instead, make it a part of your schedule every day. Don’t skip lessons. Set aside time every day to play. This is the only way to get better at playing. 

Practice doesn’t mean playing a piece from start to finish. When you first start playing, songs are short and easier to play. But the more difficult the music becomes, the longer it takes to master. Sometimes a practice session will be about playing one small piece of the song. That’s okay. Allow your child’s teacher to set the pace. 

Compliment music lessons with other forms of music. In order to develop music literacy, it’s important to have a wide variety of musical training tools in your home. Buy different music books and sheet music. Be willing to invest in things your child wants to try. Also consider apps and other online tools to help to learn to play. And when the opportunity arises, take field trips to local symphonies, concerts, and other musical events. 

Daily reminders to practice don’t mean your child doesn’t like to play. Kids are kids. And sometimes they groan as you remind them to do their daily chores. But that doesn’t mean they don’t enjoy making music. Playing the piano can be a relaxing experience. You do have to make the time and encourage them to sit and play for the designated time period. It’s no different than reminding them to brush their teeth or do their homework. It’s a part of a parent’s job. 

Create long term goals. There’s nothing wrong with creating long term goals as they improve their piano playing. Schedule trips to the symphony several months out. Encourage them by promising upgraded pianos or accessories in the future. Motivate them by showing them what they can do with their skills. It will help you get more comfortable with their abilities and how well you can expect them to play. 

Participate. Sit down and listen to their practices once in a while. Attend their practices with teachers and piano groups. Get involved in helping them find playable music. Kids get excited when mom and dad participate in their activities. 

Work together with your child’s piano teacher to keep them involved. However, this doesn’t mean carrying on with a ten minute conversation after the lesson. Chances are they have another lesson soon after. Send an email. Sit in on the lesson to gain clarity on techniques to keep them moving forward. Let the teacher know you’re an active participant in your child’s learning. Sometimes, it can make all the difference in how long your child moves forward with their new skills. 

What You Can Do As a Parent To Help Your Kids With Piano Lessons

What You Can Do As a Parent To Help Your Kids With Piano Lessons

As a parent, we sign our kids up for a variety of different activities, watching for the ones they excel at. When you find the one they take to, you want to do everything you can to encourage them to do more. 

If they fall in love with creating music, piano playing is one of the best activities they can take on. Piano does so much for a person including:

  • Improving memory and concentration
  • Helping them excel in mathematics
  • Improving reading and comprehension skills
  • Becoming more creative in everything they do

What’s more, piano isn’t something they will just enjoy while they are young and able; piano is something they can enjoy throughout their lives. 

If you want your child to be better at playing the piano, they have to stick with their piano lessons. Together, you have to create an environment that’s perfect for playing regularly. How do you do that?

Create a “why”

People rarely stick with something if they don’t have their “why”. Work together with your child to determine why you’re pursuing piano. You understand all the benefits; a five, six, or seven year old won’t. But you can still help them discover a reason to play. If they get good enough, maybe they could play their favorite songs. Purchase the sheet music now as motivation. You can also talk about the musicians they love the most, and read stories and biographies about them to help them understand their musical journeys. It can be all the motivation they need. 

Explore the musical world

For a child starting out on the piano, they might not be able to put it into perspective of how the piano can be a part of their world. We overemphasize sports in our society; kids can watch games on television and associate their own practice to these games. Seek out the same for musical talent. You can watch concerts on TV or on YouTube. Find local music halls in your own community. Every major city will have a symphony you can bring them to and show them how piano contributes to a performance. Don’t ignore free concerts in the parks in the summertime. This can be a new hobby your entire family enjoys. 

Work to keep your child interested

A lot of playing the piano is self motivation. You have to take on that responsibility, especially when your child is young. Work to find a piano teacher who engages your child and makes them want more. Motivate them with rewards to concerts or a trip to the music store to pick out their favorite music. Listen to piano players and talk about them with your child. Look for games that help them become better pianists. While some kids naturally gravitate to wanting more, others need the occasional push in the right direction. 

If you see both love and talent, pushing your kids just a little bit more to stick with piano lessons is the best gift you can give your kids. 

Piano Lessons: What To Expect The First Year

Piano Lessons: What To Expect The First Year

Not sure if piano lessons are right for your child? Nervous about how well they’ll do their first year? You’re not alone. The piano can be an intimidating instrument. With so many keys and so many rules to learn in the process, will your child ever pick it up well enough to enjoy it and play something they know and enjoy?Piano Lessons: What To Expect The First Year

The piano playing journey is one your child should enjoy. The focus should never be placed on how well they do compared with others in the field. Instead, it’s all about mindset. Whether your child ends up playing professionally, or simply uses piano playing as a stress reliever throughout their lives, starting small is always the best strategy.

The first lesson is always designed to introduce you to the instrument. Your skills will grow from that point forward.

Finding A Good Teacher
The first step is finding a good teacher. What may work for a friend might not work for you or your child. Be flexible in your quest for finding the right instructor. Establishing a solid teacher-student relationship is important to ensure a long-term relationship with playing the piano. Before you begin, find out how the instructor works:

  • What does a typical lesson look like?
  • What equipment, books or other accessories will we need?
  • What is the policy for rescheduling lessons?
  • What is expected of a student the first year?

Then approach an instructor with goals of your own. Include things like:

  • I’ve always wanted to play pop songs. How long before I can play? Give specifics.
  • I prefer digital piano. Is this a problem?
  • I hope to write my own music. How long before I can do this?

No matter who you choose as your instructor, the better they understand your goals from the beginning, the more succinct your education will be while working together.

Be Patient
Your results will depend on your state of mind, and how well you put into practice what you learn. Someone who practices 30 minutes a week won’t have the same results as someone who puts in an hour every day. Give yourself a chance to build over time. Your first lesson will probably start with a major scale, probably in the key of C Major. And thought the basics might not be the most exciting thing at first, realizing it will give you the control you need for the future can help make every step more enjoyable.

Think for the long term. Piano is truly a one of a kind instrument. No other instrument gives you the total range of the orchestra right at your fingertips. Learning the basics can give you a lifetime of pleasure, one that can take you anywhere in the world you desire.

What Parents Should Know About Piano Lessons

What Parents Should Know About Piano Lessons

Parents understand that whatever activity they put their child into, they will need practice along the way.

If they join a play, they will have regular practice to learn their part.What Parents Should Know About Piano Lessons

If they take up soccer, they will have regular practice to absorb the strategies.

In most cases, you can sit back and watch them in action from the sidelines, see them making progress, listen to the interaction between coach and teammates.

But that doesn’t work as well for piano lessons. If your child wants to learn how to play the piano, you drop them off and pick them up, without understanding what goes on behind closed doors. If you’ve never been through the process yourself, it’s difficult to understand your role in the entire process. But as a parent, there are many things you can do every day to help them enjoy the piano and improve a little more each week.

Your child needs help establishing a routine
The most important aspect of learning to play the piano is to help them develop a structure. For young children that have shorter attention spans, 20 minutes every day will beat out 30 minutes three or four times per week anytime. These short bursts can help them focus in on learning while avoiding the burnout that comes from extensive repetition. Even if you don’t understand music, you can still be there to help them organize their time wisely, practice things according to the teaching plan, and find ways for answering the “I’m stuck” questions that invariably come with learning something new. Be a part of this process every step of the way. Remember; their piano teacher is there for you to ask questions of too.

Your child needs encouragement
Learning to play the piano is difficult. It’s not something that will come easily in a short period of time. Sometimes it can feel overwhelming; that’s when they need your guidance the most. Show them you’re there every step of the way. You can listen to practice sessions. You can attend recitals with enthusiasm. You can invite friends and family to attend, showing you enjoy what they are doing and take pride in their performance.

Your child needs a positive practice environment
The daily routine should never be about cramming in everything to make sure it fits. It should never be about moving rapidly from one thing to the next to make sure you have time for it all. Instead, piano practicing should be a relaxing time, a time for enjoyment. It’s not just practice, it’s learning to enjoy and create beautiful music. Accomplishing the next scale or moving to a harder piece of music isn’t the goal if they don’t enjoy the process.

Your child needs a piano that’s enjoyable
Playing the piano is more than understanding where the notes are. It’s about the enjoyment of the music that comes from within. Even the youngest of players will experience making beautiful sounds. If you choose an instrument that gives them the joy of creating music, one that sounds good to their ear, they will be more fulfilled with the process.

How To Structure The Perfect Piano Lesson

How To Structure The Perfect Piano Lesson

Is there such a thing as the perfect piano lesson?

The answer, most obviously, is no. After all, there are many approaches to playing the piano, both from the instructor and from the learners point of view. What works for one won’t necessarily work for another.How To Structure The Perfect Piano Lesson

Still, as a piano teacher, it’s important to structure the lessons you teach. It’s important to give your student a well-rounded approach to piano playing. And for most teachers, structure is a part of the deal.

A thirty-minute lesson will often include warm-ups, technical work, repertoire, maybe some piano games, even a little ear training. And it’s often structured five minutes here, five minutes there.

In some cases, that works. But sticking to that every day of the year can leave both you and your student feeling a little board.

Structure ever month differently

March can bring on anxiety from upcoming recitals. July can be relaxed and hassle-free. September can bring about new things, both from school and changing seasons.

So why structure your piano lessons in the same manner? If a student is overwhelmed and is focused on an upcoming recital, press structure in helping them with performance skills. If they are relaxed and in a vacation mindset, games and improv work can be a welcome relief.

Tie lessons to the student, not a training schedule

For teachers in a classroom, establishing one schedule to teach the entire class is a must. But if you teach one student at a time, your teaching plan can adjust with every student that walks in. Some students may learn best from playing games. Some students may be completely obsessed with repertoire. Find a way to capitalize on each of their interests and cater specifically to them.

Structure every lesson with excitement levels

There are only a certain number of things that can be accomplished in a short time frame. Instead of stopping and moving to another topic, take the lead from the student. Are they having fun with an activity? Let them do more of it. Are they bored? Move on. Never feel you “must” do anything. Do what works.

Look for alternatives all the time

When was the last time you tried something new? Have you grabbed a book to learn more about piano improv? Have you downloaded an app and tried a game? Learning the piano is always changing, always growing. Which means as an instructor, it’s important to change and grow too. Find new things that work. Eliminate things that don’t. The more you cater to the individual needs of your students, the more they’ll enjoy working with you.

What Style Of Piano Music Suits You

What Style Of Piano Music Suits You

Ready to begin piano lessons? Have the desire to play the piano on a regular basis?

There is a difference in the way you learn. Different piano teachers have different beliefs in what they teach. And if you become bored or frustrated early on, you’re more likely to quit.What Style Of Piano Music Suits You

There are several styles of piano music you can learn with and practice on a regular basis. To incorporate all the styles into your lessons will help you become a better piano player overall. But if you have a preferred style you enjoy over others, be sure your piano teacher follow your same thoughts and helps you choose music that motivates you and makes you want to play.

Classical Piano
Do you enjoy Bach, Beethoven and Mozart? They are considered the top three composers from the mid 1700s to early 1800s. Classical music transformed as the years went on, bringing in pianists like Chopin, Handel and Tchaikovsky. Classical is often one of the first styles of music to study because it forces students to learn music theory and develop a strong technique. With this understanding in place, it’s easier to move into other styles of piano.

Spiritual Piano
Piano playing has long since been used as a part of religious ceremonies. From Catholic to Protestant to Jewish celebrations have all used music as an important part of tradition and culture.

Today’s musicians are continuing the tradition by playing music that has been around for generations, as well as creating new music to engage current audiences. Many pianists start out playing for religious activities in their communities before branching out and moving to other levels.

Jazz Piano
The early 1900s brought in the sound of American jazz, which transpired throughout the country in places like New York, New Orleans and Chicago.

Jazz piano incorporates more swing, ragtime, and improvisation into playing the piano. It incorporates classic rhythms with a more modernized beat. It gives piano players the opportunity to bring a more modern sound into the music they play.

Pop – Rock Piano
From the 1950s on, piano was used to create a variety of different sounds in both rock and pop music. And as the keyboard switched from acoustic to digital, the number or sounds increased with it, allowing many different sounds to be created and used in music.

Incorporating pop and rock piano music into your lesson plan allows you to play music you are familiar with, can sing with, and can hum as you pick out the tunes. It allows you to work on both playing by ear and learning to read music, helping your build your playing skills in many ways.

The Life Lessons You’ll Learn From Piano Lessons

The Life Lessons You’ll Learn From Piano Lessons

I was watching an interview from a man who was approaching his 100th birthday. When someone lives that long, the most logical questions to ask are things like:

What is the secret to living so long?The Life Lessons You’ll Learn From Piano Lessons
What have you learned along the way?

And while his answers were inspirational, they were also very simple. Living a good life doesn’t have to be complicated, in fact it’s usually just the opposite. There are a lot of things you can learn just by being an active participant. But then again, its like that with many things.

I’ve played the piano for decades, and along the way I’ve discovered that learning the piano can teach you a lot about living life. If you play the piano, chances are you have had many years of piano lessons, even if you are simply learning on your own. That’s the beauty of playing the piano, there’s always something more to learn. And you can do so whether you are 10 or 100, and it will all help you grow and become just a little bit more.

Wishing doesn’t make it so

Remember all those New Year’s resolutions you’ve made over the years, promising yourself you’ll accomplish more and do new things? How well did that work for you? Wishing doesn’t make it so. The only way to make it so is to put action behind it. If you’ve had a lifelong desire to play the piano, to become better at creating music, the only way to get there is to do it. Buy a piano. Invest in piano lessons. Put in regular practice. No matter what your ability, no matter what your age.

We cannot change anything if we cannot change our thoughts

How many people have sat down to play the piano and have thought, “I’m not very good”. Yep, and you’ll never be any good as long as you continue to think that way. Who defines what good is? Good can mean many things. You don’t have to play at Carnegie Hall to prove your playability. Playing for your enjoyment can be good enough.

Sometimes your instincts tell you to do something, something that may seem crazy and unbelievable. Follow your instincts.

If a small child wants to learn to play the piano, it’s our jobs to give them the chance. And when they dream big, it’s our job to give them more of a fighting chance to turn it into a reality. That’s where the greatest piano players of our time are created. It doesn’t matter that only a select few will ever be at the top of the business. There are many ways to develop a talent into a lifelong love. What is important is to follow through on the things that bring us the greatest joy.

What are your favorite life lessons?