Thursday, January 16, 2014

How to enforce your student's piano practice?


Gigi recently went the way of most 14-16 year olds that play piano.  She ‘thinks’ she wants to quit and not play piano anymore.  I smile because I know she’ll regret this later.  Gigi plays very well, but of late hasn’t been putting her full effort into her lessons and practice.  Of course, most kids her age fall into a pattern of busy after school sports, activities, homework, texting, and FRIENDS!  Where does practice fit in?  Well, as I was talking to Boss Moss about our course of directions with her, I remembered what Linda Eyre wrote about her kids and piano practice at their home.

The book Teaching Your Children Joy by Linda and Richard Eyre is what I used as a reference while I raised my family in the 1990’s. It still applies today and more so with the trials parents have with so many good choices of activities for their children, but what is the BEST choice of time spent for their future. This is what they did about piano or instrument practicing issues:
            “My mother taught piano and violin for almost 60 years….I remembering longing to be a normal child who could just get up, eat breakfast, go to school, and then come home afterward and watch “Leave it to Beaver”.  There was none of that for us!..... I can still remember mother standing over me with a clenched fist, watching the tears of frustration roll down my cheeks, and saying, “Someday you’ll thank me for this”.  She was right! I thank her in my heart almost daily when I think of the fun I’d be missing if she hadn’t made me become a musician…
            Now I face the same dilemma with my own children…I remembered what had taken the sting out of practicing for me.  From the time we were eight, our parents expected us to earn our own money for treats, movies, and clothes…They paid us to practice.  The pay was meager, but if we had a perfect practice record at the end of the week, our money was doubled!”

I don’t pay my children to practice like the Eyre’s do.  But, I’ve tried to teach my children to love it by the ‘fruits’ of how they feel after getting a song down or that they understand music when most the world doesn’t.  We make music part of their ‘chore’ chart.  It’s expected, just like taking out the trash.  Life is daily.  Music is daily.

What do you do to help your children practice?

In harmony,
Leslie