Piano Blog

A piano teacher's notes and successes!

How Parents Can Help Their Piano Student

Monday, September 7, 2020 by Becky Brouwer | Parents

I would like to provide some suggestions to parents if you want to be an even better piano parent  

Sometimes the best and easiest thing a parent can do to help a student practice is to simply walk them to the bench and help them sit at the piano. If you’d like some other ideas of how to help, this list might be helpful.

1. The Practice Practice Bouncer: Let’s begin with the simplest of tasks for piano parents. To encourage effective daily practice, proactive parents must act as the Practice Practice Bouncer. This job requires parents to keep family pets, siblings, and friends out of the piano room. Even more importantly for older students, this job requires keeping cellphones quiet during practice sessions.

2. The Practice Videographer: Piano teachers love to know what’s happening at home. By being a videographer, proactive piano parents can provide teachers with valuable home practice recordings that can be used to improve technique, posture, rhythm, and more.

3. The Piano Piece Request Line: The most accomplished piano students always revisit pieces from their past to brush up on skills and to simply revisit some old favorites. During practice sessions, parents can get involved by requesting their children to perform some pieces that they have enjoyed hearing from past recitals.

4. The Lead Vocalist: Most people are not too comfortable with breaking out into song in public, but they will happily sing in front of their own children. Sing along with song lyrics. Make sure your student is playing well enough that you can sing along without distracting them.  

5. The Youtube Liaison: As students get older, it can get harder for piano parents to be active in the home practice process. By transitioning from an authoritative role to an assistant role, parents can be supportive by performing simple tasks such as searching out quality Youtube performances of pieces their children are playing. It can be a really useful experience for teen piano players to see and hear performances of the pieces they are about to play.

6. The Piano Studio Janitor: Parents are the ultimate, and original, janitors. While it is important that students learn to organize their own practice spaces, if parents are looking for a simple task to get involved in practice sessions, getting the home piano space in order before each practice session can be very helpful.

7. The Concert Promotor: As a parent myself, I know that showing off our kids comes naturally. For this reason, proactive parents can take on the role of home practice concert promotor. This job involves getting their children to perform when friends, grandparents, and aunts and uncles come over for a visit, or sending videos and initiating FaceTime performances.

8. The Timekeeper: Work on note reading, key signature identification, interval identification and a host of other challenges with your children  Help them with technology or just time them on flash cards or worksheets  

9. The Sticker Giver: The worst thing a parent can do during a home practice session is to instigate practice wars. Music is supposed to be a delightful experience. And what is more delightful for piano students than stickers?! Listen in on home practice sessions and then distribute stickers when you hear a piano piece or a technical exercise that was performed particularly well.

10. The Role Reversal: Parents spend most of their lives in an authoritative role but during home practice sessions it can be a wonderful learning experience for their children to take the leading role and teach the adults something new. Have your students teach you how to clap a rhythm, play a piano game, or perform a simple duet.

11. The Check-Marker: Take charge of checking off home practice tasks on lesson assignment sheets, send a note through betterpracticeapp chat feature  

12. The Lesson Note Reader:  I often give specific instructions on Betterpracticeapp notes. Read the lesson notes to your children before the start of piano practice.

13. The Active Audience Member: Whether musical or not, piano parents can lend an ear as a piano practice audience member. Only provide positive feedback as you listen to your children perform repertoire and exercises.

14. The Frustration Interpreter: Young piano students are not great at vocalizing their challenges. For this reason, parents can serve as an interpreter for piano teachers. During home practice sessions, discuss difficulties and challenges with your children and then record your findings in the chat feature of Betterpracticeapp.

These 14 suggestions are taken from and modified from a blogpost on https://www.teachpianotoday.com/2020/08/31/14-tasks-to-turn-piano-parents-into-home-practice-teaching-assistants/

Parent Meeting 2018

Wednesday, October 17, 2018 by Becky Brouwer | Parents

Here is the presentation from the parent meeting held on October 3, 2018. We shared ideas about helping your children be motivated to practice and what practice really is and why it is important. I hope these notes are useful to you.

Parent Piano Meeting