Any pianist, whether 5 or 50, requires daily practice and I ask all my students for a commitment to practice as often as they can each week. The progress that is made by students that practice all their scheduled work (not just their pieces) is overwhelmingly greater than those that practice once or twice a week.
Here are some tips that you might find useful in establishing a regular practice routine for your child.
- Practice should be a regular part of your child’s daily routine. Good times may be when they get home from school before homework or before school.
- Don’t push young children into long practice sessions – five or ten minutes will probably be enough at the beginning for a 3 or 4 year old. I would recommend at least 15 minutes a day for 5 – 6 year olds.
- It helps if you listen to them and encourage them as they practise, especially with younger children
- Don’t make practice a punishment, or your child may start to see it as a chore
- Some teachers recommend a practice record book to fill in, with comments on whether they have enjoyed a particular piece, or found a scale or exercise challenging. This encourages the pupil to be involved and reflect on their motivation and progress.
- Encourage your child to practise slowly and to take difficult passages apart to try and find out what the difficulty is. Things don’t get better by just playing the music over and over again with the same errors.
- Help your child with a practice plan to include:
– Scales and the last song that they have practised
– Any new material they have been assigned – they should try to master any challenging parts first
– Encourage them to end with a piece that they have finished and enjoy playing