HOW TO BE A GREAT 'PIANO PARENT

Copyright Cafi Cohen, cfcohen@pacbell.net

  • Provide a well-tuned instrument in good repair on which to practice.
  • Promote consistent practice with regular daily rehearsal times in a quiet, non-distracting environment. Early morning practicers always do well.
  • Keep your children company while they practice. It's LONELY. Be there. You can read, pay bills, nurse a baby, embroider, paint, even doze! Just be there.
  • Find something good to say about your child's playing at least weekly - daily is better.
  • Compliment beautiful playing - expressive phrasing, dynamic contrasts (louds and softs),  touch differences (detached staccato versus smooth legato), even rhythms, bringing out the melody-- even in the simplest pieces.
  • Sing with your child's playing. If you play an instrument, accompany your child often.
  • Ask your child to teach you one of their pieces.
  • Listen to recordings of good music daily.
  • Take your child to hear live music performances of all kinds.
  • Encourage experimentation and "fooling around" in addition to practice.
  • Take advantage of opportunities to set goals (auditions, evaluations, recitals, etc.).
  • Help your children show up with all of their lesson materials.
  • Attend at least one lesson monthly - attend all lessons if your child is younger than 10 years old.
  • Help children of all ages to follow practice instructions, the hardest part of piano lessons.   Everyone is given instructions they would rather not follow (counting aloud, playing scales, using exact fingering, maintaining good hand position, using a metronome, trying Baroque or classical repertoire, and so on). Those who follow the instructions make the fastest progress.
  • Urge involvement in other music-making endeavors - other instruments, choirs, and so on.
  • Encourage your child to play for church, school, friends, and community groups.
  • Avoid comparisons with other students. Hard work and persistence trump talent 99 times out of 100.