Try these 8 ideas to add some gas to your child's practice time.
I was a homeschool mom for 12 years of my daughter's (plural) education. I know how easy it is to run out of gas, so to speak. I'm making myself sound old by saying this, but back when I was teaching there wasn't pinterest or even a fraction of the online sites that parents have as resources today. I told you I would make myself sound old. Fortunately as a teacher now, I am constantly going to my computer for new ideas to keep my studio fresh and our students excited about learning.
As parents there are things that you can do that will continue the momentum at home. Below you will find 8 ideas that you can try with your budding musician. Feel free to add some of your own, but make sure you share them with me. I'll pass them on and everyone can benefit.
1. Surprise with Piano Pancakes – On a Saturday morning, surprise your child with Piano Pancakes topped with chocolate chip “quarter notes”. For each pancake on the plate have your child perform a piece for your family while you all watch in your PJ’s.
2. Monday Morning Mirror Message – Use a white board marker to leave a surprise message on the bathroom mirror for your child on a Monday morning before he or she wakes up. Write “It makes me so HAPPY to hear you play the piano!” or something to that effect.
3. Sneak a Practice – Leave your child a note on his or her pillow on a weekend night that says “Tonight you get to stay up late! When everyone else is sleeping you and I are going to sneak downstairs so I can listen to you play the piano.” Serve warm milk and cookies in the piano room and light it by candle light only. This will be a memory not soon forgotten.
4. Take it to the Highway – Kids who are involved in sports get a lot of glory. Piano kids.. not so much. Make your child smile by writing a message on the back window of your car that says “My Kid Rocks on the Piano! Honk if you love music!”. Roll the windows down and let your child wave to the honking fans.
5. Build Excitement – Before recitals or performances, build excitement with a countdown. Use a blackboard or white board (or a piece of paper on the fridge) that says “___ More Days Until Max’s Piano Performance!” Showing you value involvement in performances ensures participation well into the teen years.
6. Surprise Sheet Music Shopping – Pick your child up from school and head out on a surprise trip to your local music store, offering the chance to choose any music book or piece of sheet music. The key is in looking with your child… spend enjoyable time browsing the books and finding just the right thing to take home.
7. Exclaim with Pleasure – You don’t always need to be fancy. Sometimes a genuine, enthusiastic and unexpected “Holy smokes that was AMAZING!” mid-way through his or her practice is all it takes!
8. Make Piano Practice Time “Tech Free” – Whenever your child sits down to practice, turn off the TV, the cell phones, the computer, the Nintendo… everything. Allow your home to be filled solely with the music they are creating and allow yourself to be fully present. Ideas came from Teach Piano Today.
Full Tanks = Happy Piano Kids
Do these take a little bit of effort? Yes. Does it take a whole lot of effort on the part of your child to master an instrument like the piano? Absolutely! By demonstrating just how much you care about their involvement in piano you lay a very strong foundation for years of musical enjoyment. Beyond that, you also help to strengthen self-esteem and self-image. So pick a “tank filler” and give it a try!