You have invested in piano lessons for your child and you believe in the benefits of music education. You love to see your child enjoying music, how hard they work and the joy it brings them.
A couple of weeks ago, I posted – here – about ways you can show your kids how much you value the effort they are making with learning the piano and how these strategies can help to refill their “practise tank” when it is running low. Ramp up your involvement by trying some of the following ideas:
1. Balloon Surprise – Fill a kitchen cupboard with balloons that will spill out when your child opens the door. Ask him or her to help you with dinner and wait for the cupboard to open. On each balloon write one thing you love about your child’s piano playing (e.g. “I love to hear you play when I’m making dinner” or “I can hear so much emotion when you play” etc). Read all the messages together.
2. Surprise Sheet Music Shopping – When you collect your child from school, head off on a surprise trip to your local music shop and offer then the opportunity to choose any piece of sheet music or music book they like. Spend some time with them browsing through the options and finding just the right thing to take home. (Music stores are a treasure trove and can be overwhelming on the first visit, so ask the sales assistant to point you in the right direction for your child’s level).
3. Monday Morning Mirror Message – Use a white board marker to leave a message on your child’s mirror or the bathroom mirror before he or she wakes up. Write something like, “It makes me so happy to listen to you playing the piano.”
4. Post Office Package – Create a little package of special treats and a note about your pride in your child’s piano accomplishments. Mail it to your child and let them discover it in the mail box.
5. Build Excitement – If a recital, performance or exam is drawing near, build excitement with a countdown. Use a whiteboard, blackboard or even just a piece of paper on the fridge with “___ days until Jane’s piano recital” written on it. You could also use a calendar and cross off the days. Either way, the important thing is showing you value involvement in the performance aspect of music and this will ensure participation well into the teen years.
6. UnBEARable – Probably more fitting for younger kids… Find some teddy bear stickers and attach one to each of ten Post-It notes. Write, “It’s unbearable without your piano music. Please play for us” on each note and hide them around the house in unexpected places. Each time your child comes across one, they can play a piece for you.
7. Buddy Practise – Piano practise can be lonely, but a buddy on the bench can make a lot of difference. Even if you don’t possess a snippet of musical know-how, your child will appreciate you being there with them and will love answering your questions. Your child’s teacher will be able to give you questions and activities to help you show your involvement.
As mentioned in the first list of suggestions, most of these ideas require some planning and effort, but it will be so worth it when your child sees how much you value their hard work. It’s natural for their practise tank to run low; they only spend thirty minutes of the week receiving one-on-one encouragement from their teacher and the rest of the week it’s up to them to keep it going. So pick a few of these ideas, give them a try and watch your child’s confidence soar.
If you are considering music lessons for your child or for yourself, please contact me to discuss the options. Piano lessons are conducted at my studio in Wallsend, NSW.