While a lot of emphasis should be on finding a good teacher for your child, it is often easy to forget that there are actually three persons equally involved in a successful piano lesson experience.
And the Parent.
It is important to do some research, take a few trial lessons, and ask lots of questions before settling on a teacher. Just because a teacher has amazing credentials does not necessarily mean that they will connect well with your child. Your child will learn more, be happier, and be more willing to get over the slumps with a teacher with whom they connect well.
There should be an intrinsic interest in piano lessons before you take your child to their first lesson. You can encourage this by playing music on the radio and in the house, purchasing a piano for them to play around with, talking with them about the possibility of starting lessons, taking them to concerts, etc. Once lessons start, your child needs to understand that practicing is a commitment – just like homework! It will need to become part of the expected every day routine.
A piano teacher sees your child once a week, for 30 or 45 minutes. You see your child every day. You have more power than you realize to influence your child’s practice routine and love for music. Without a doubt, the students I have who have parents involved in their weekly practice are far more successful than those who don’t. Take your children to concerts. Ask them to play for you, or make a piano video to send to grandma. Help them read through their assignments, and make sure they complete everything before their next lesson. Help them settle into a practice routine. Encourage them when the going gets rough, and use that as an opportunity to talk about perseverance.
At Belmont Piano Academy, students commit to practicing at least 5 days a week, for various amounts of time depending on their skill level. There is an area on their lesson assignment page for them to record how much they practice each day, and at the end of the week the parents sign it to verify. Under this commitment, the students make great progress, and they have a wonderfully enjoyable musical experience! I have never heard a student complain about how much they are required to practice. They see for themselves that the more they put in, the more they get out of the experience.
Michal Grace Harris
Piano Teacher & Accompanist