Undercover Piano Practice

Summer is… A  Great time to change up the piano practice routine for kids

School is out and so are daily routines, but you know that piano practice must continue! So what’s a parent to do? Before you decide that piano just isn’t going to work out for your child because they don’t want to practice. do a google search for the nearest piano store – not music store, but piano store – and drive your kids over there! No piano books, just you and the kids. We wouldn’t want to make the kids think we are about to practice piano, now would we?

Can’t get your child to touch the piano at home? This will have him touching 5 or 6 pianos GLADLY!

Once you get to the store, it will seem like you’re in a candy store – no kidding! There’s something about a room full of pianos that can get a kid excited in a way that practicing piano just can’t. Check out these pics of our latest trip to the piano store (We actually went to price a new piano, but of course they played the pianos while we were there) –

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By the way, I had a hard time getting my son to leave the piano store! Gotta love it!

Coming Up…

You might have noticed my daughter in one of the pictures with a model of the inner workings of a piano key. I’ll be writing about The Music Store Field Trip in an upcoming post. To guarantee you don’t miss it, subscribe to the blog and you will be notified as soon as it is posted!

From Piano Parent to Piano Student – What My Mother Now Knows Part 1

 I was very surprised to learn a few months ago that my mother had decided to start taking piano lessons. After years of transporting my sister and I to and from piano lessons with various teachers (sometimes against our own immature wills), the music bug had finally bit her! Since she and I live in different states I am not fortunate enough to be her piano teacher, but this is probably for the better, right? I mean, can you imagine?!

When she told me the news, I had so many questions. Why? What is it like taking piano after having raised two piano players? Do you enjoy practicing? Is it easy to learn to play the piano? How does it feel to sit on the bench under the pressure of playing for someone? Underneath all these questions was the deep desire that maybe, just maybe this piano learning journey would help her to understand a part of me that maybe was inaccessible to her before because she had not sat on that bench as I had, didn’t know how wonderful being able to play music makes you feel after you finally get your hands to do it, and she hadn’t had to turn down social opportunities because she had to practice piano while others played outside. How would she be different as a result of this experience? How would I be different?

At any rate I have relished hearing about her experiences with piano learning and thought that you might enjoy reading about them as well. So, this week there will be a short 3 part series of posts about her piano adventures! If you are a piano parent, perhaps you will gain some ideas about how to support your child’s musical learning. And if you are a long time piano player like me, maybe you will get some satisfaction of knowing that there is a parent out there who can truly appreciate all the things you had to go through to become the player you are today. If you are a teacher, you will gain some insights on how to teach parents to best participate in the child’s music learning. Or if you are a student just learning to play, you will be encouraged to know that someone else is facing similar challenges as you concerning piano learning and yet they think it is worth it.

Kudos To School Music Teachers!

Thankfully a lot of my piano students go to schools where they have a music class. I am always so impressed when a student arrives to their piano lesson and tells me about a concept they learned in music class at school. These teachers really make my job a lot easier. So, in honor of Teacher Appreciation Week I’m dedicating this post to my students’ school music teachers. The kids and I spelled out their names rhythmically.  Kudos and thanks for all you do, school music teachers. You’re Awesome!!!

             

Why Teach?

I had an awesome teaching moment tonight during a piano lesson and I just had to share it here. A young student of mine who has learned all the pentascales but had not yet been introduced to the entire major scale, was previewing a piece where the C scale is used throughout. Now before I tell you what happened next I must tell you that when he was learning the pentascales I never referred to them as pentascales, only scales.

So as we previewed the piece for tonight I pointed out that for these passages he would have to figure out how to get 3 more fingers on his hand since his other scales only used 5 fingers. That’s when his mind went into super thinking mode and he said, “hmmm if it has 5 notes we should call it a pentascale because penta means 5!” Then he proceeded to play the whole major scale with correct fingering and everything!

All I could do was ask, “What do you need me for?”

And with a big Kool-Aid smile he said, “to encourage me.”

At the end of the day, that’s really what teaching is all about.  I’m so thankful for the opportunity to be an encourager in the lives of the kids I teach.

What’s the greatest compliment a student has given you? Share it here and you’ll be encouraging everyone who reads this post.