YOU’RE DOING WHAT?! Piano Lessons
Younger students who practice for their piano lessons are always impressive. It’s a sign of high character and good values. It’s also an indication that someone in the home values the piano lessons and the more people valuing music lessons, the better. Some students have a hard time making time for music. They often feel irritated about practicing and frustration each time they do. In either case, students can miss the mark when it comes to making the most of their practice time, and the solution can sometimes be a simple question.
WHAT AM I TRYING TO DO?
It seems simple enough but ask a student what they’re trying to do and I have found that they often can’t give you an answer. It usually goes something like, “I’m trying to practice.” Practice what? “My piano lesson.” O.k., but what are you trying to do? And therein lies the issue. If we can get our kids to say “I want to learn my left hand” or “my guitar teacher says it needs to be smoother,” we can succeed in teaching children to teach themselves. “WHAT” is often more important then how much or how often we practice. The old adage 30 or 60 minutes per day can become just that…old! We need to ask ourselves “WHAT” to understand the how.
Once you establish, “I am trying to play this passage of music softer” for example, the sooner your student can reach their goal. This is where learning and the real benefits of practice can really set in. Don’t be discouraged if (as a parent) you aren’t sure how to help your student. Most of these issues will be addressed once the question is realized but in the cases where it is not, please use common sense. Practicing ideas can be worked on by applying common sense and any effort in this direction will positively benefit the student. Not to mention, if a student starts a lesson by saying “you know last week I tried to work on __________ but was unsure how to do it,” you will see a big smile on your teacher’s face. That smile is a teacher saying “success” because their student was thinking “WHAT” they needed to do. After all, we (as teachers) can fix the rest.