Being a Supportive Parent of a Piano Student

Many successful musicians regard their parents' influence and inspiration as the most important in sparking their own interest in serious music. Whether or not your child makes a career of music, your efforts in bringing the world of music to your child will make his or her life fuller and happier. You can help your child learn faster and enjoy lessons more by doing a few simple things:

  • Become Involved With Your Child's Piano Training. Discuss with your teacher the kind and degree of involvement which makes the best sense for your child. Should you attend lessons and, if so, how often? Should you supervise or coach practice sessions and, if so, how should you go about that? Communicate often with your child's teacher to monitor progress and learn what you can do to be helpful to the learning process.


  • Encourage Your Child As Much As Possible. Be sure to praise effort as well as accomplishment. Even if your child does not learn as fast as another, in the long run, hard work will determine the final result. There is no better way to bring about the hard work than to reward the effort. Try to express interest in what your child is doing, even if you are getting tired of hearing "Chopsticks". Encourage your child in every way possible to perform for family and friends in relaxed settings.


  • Avoid Negative Criticism. Most of us respond better to thoughtful, loving help than undirected criticism. If your child seems uncooperative, it may mean that they need more help, encouragement, and support. Punishment is usually not a long-term solution.


  • Make Sure Your Child Knows That You Consider Music a Serious Commitment. Schedule piano practice time for your child just as regularly as you do football or netball practice. See to it that practice sessions are as free as possible from distractions. If the piano is in the living room, try to limit access to the living room during your child's allotted practice time. If your child has not practiced for some reason, do not cancel lessons. If you find the child's interest in lessons waning, the best thing to do it to discuss the problem with your child's teacher; often, this can be solved with proper stimulation and supervision by you and the teacher working together.


  • Provide As Much Cultural Enrichment As Possible. The experience of listening to music without the pressure of having to play the notes correctly can add greatly to your child's appreciation for music generally and lessons in particular. Go to concerts with your children whenever possible. Introduce your children to the works of the masters by playing the music in your home. These days, computer technology, especially the advent of CD-ROM disks, has made it possible to explore great music in a way that is fun for the entire family. If you have a CD-ROM drive equipped computer, try any of several different CD-ROM's of this type