Tips for Parents of Beginners

1. Consider personality when choosing a piano teacher. If the teacher can't relate to your child, the process of learning may be adversely affected, regardless of the teacher's qualifications. Find a teacher who relates well to both you and your child.

2. Take your child to his scheduled lesson, even if he hasn't practiced.

3. Listen in on the lesson if it's permissible with the teacher (and if your child can still function adequately with you in the room). If listening in is not possible, talk to the teacher following the lesson to get a rundown of what is expected that week.

4. Learn the basics of music reading along with your child if you don't know how to read music already. Encourage your child to teach you what he learned that day. If you know even just the basics, you'll be much better equipped to help your child when he practices at home.

5. Set aside a specific, regular time when your child should practice. Provide a time when there is little distraction.

6. Allow your child to practice in five minute segments if necessary. Short, focused periods of practice can be very beneficial. Don't feel that you have to carve out an entire 3o-minute period for practice, especially since many families don't have that much uninterrupted free time.

7. Don’t force your child to only practice what is assigned. Children are naturally creative. Let them have some free time at the piano. They can create their own music or revisit older pieces they love. Set a timer for 5 minutes. Every 5 minutes switch activities. 5 minutes on assigned pieces, then 5 to be creative. More advanced students can do 10 to 15 minute intervals.

8. Don’t scold for making mistakes. Making mistakes during lessons is normal, especially with beginners, and playing well under stress is something that is learned over time.

9. Don't interject comments during the piano lesson unless the teacher asks you to contribute. Please save your comments until after the lesson is over. And if your comments aren't encouraging to your child's progress, perhaps consider refraining from saying anything at all.

10. Take your child to live music events whenever possible. A symphony in the park or a Broadway musical, are great ways to spark your child’s interest in Classical music. Also, listen to a variety of music in the home. Don’t always keep it on that pop radio station. Try the Classical station for a few minutes each day, or Jazz or Country. Listening to a wide variety of music will help them get excited about playing those genres on the piano.