Wondering how to best provide support and encouragement for your kids’ piano lessons, particularly when it comes to practicing? Here’s some great advice from Augustine, FL piano teacher Heather L...
When it comes to kids’ piano lessons, how often should a student be practicing? This is a common question that I’ve often received over the years. Parents find the best instructors for their children, invest time and resources in their music education, but aren’t sure quite what to do when the kids are at home, ready to practice. Frankly, this issue might turn into a tense conversation sometimes. Teachers will remind parents of their share of the responsibility for encouraging their child’s studies; parents have high expectations of how influential the teachers will be on how diligently the students study at home. Teachers might remind parents that they can’t very well go home with the student, but on the other hand, they’re failing to help educate the parents on how exactly to be a part of the educational journey.
As a parent of a young pianist, you could be the very element in their music education that projects them to success – self-confidence, the ability to think critically, and a lifelong love of learning. If you were to study the great pianists, or even simply the best-educated, hardest-working people in the world, then you would probably find a parent who was consistently inspiring.
All of this brings us to the question, “How often should my child practice?” It is part of my teaching philosophy that every piano lesson, and more importantly, every student, is different. One job of the teacher is to identify, over time, a student’s particular learning style and general attitudes about work, and then adjust the specific practice schedule accordingly.
All students should practice six days a week. How long each daily session is, depends on the child’s age. Typically speaking, young children, ages 3 and 4, should be practicing about 10 minutes. Five- and six-year-olds should extend it to 15 minutes, seven- and eight-year-olds, 20 minutes, nine- and ten-year-olds, 25 minutes. Children ages 11 through 14 should devote a full half of an hour to their piano studies.
The time suggestions listed above are merely that. They are also subject to change due to an upcoming audition or performance. In the case in which your child has, for instance, a recital coming up, the daily practice session should be extended by 10 minutes. Practice time suggestions should also change according to long-term goals. If you have a 15-year-old teenager who wishes to audition for the Juilliard School, then his practice habits will be different from the 10-year-old soccer player who plays piano for fun and just wants a lifelong hobby.
Ultimately, the most important thing to remember is that your young pianist’s hands should be on the keys six days every week. If a child is really tired of his regular piano curriculum, then it’s still important to play something, even if it’s just for fun. Encourage your child to pull out an old piece that they’ve always loved to play. If your child dreads the length of each practice session, “I’m TIRED of practicing!”, then let him take a short break and come back to piano later. It’s important not to force a child into a frustrated and resentful state, or else they might always hate playing the piano. Inspire a healthy relationship with the his keyboard studies, and you’ll see a great pianist blossom.
Photo by roseannadana