Practice Tips for the Young Beginner
Its that time of year again! Ottawa's Yamaha Music School at Ottawa Pianos is welcoming its new students to a year of music making. To the parents who have made the decision to enrol their children in music lessons BRAVO! But wait- you have only just begun. This must be a positive experience. I always tell our parents we have one chance at this; if it is a miserable experience you rarely get a 'do over' to introduce them to music. If its a bad experience the student will not be doing this another year! Over the last 25 years we have learned a thing or two on what will work for our very young beginners. We hope this helps.
Practice or review periods should be short and frequent instead of long and intense. About 10 to 15 minutes per day would be average for the first day.
Make practice time as enjoyable as possible using approaches that will motivate your child ( games, stickers, etc) Practice and learn with your child.
Follow a difficult activity with an easier one and try to end practice sessions with an easy activity.
If at all possible, make practice time happen at the same time each day. Choose a time when your child is fresh and alert and there aren't other distractions.
Let your child progress at his/her own speed. Some children have better concentration and coordination then others.
Have your piano or keyboard located in such a way that the child will pass frequently and be tempted to play. Allow experimentation with the instrument.
Perform as much as possible for friends and relatives. Praise and encourage performers.
Make sure music is part of your day-to-day life. Sing, play music in the car, dance to it. Show your child how music makes life better!
Remember that what might be easy for you can often be physically or mentally difficult for your child. Be patient and learn to distinguish between misbehaviour and incomprehension.
Most children experience times when they rebel against practicing. Don't give up. Try to stay positive and set reasonable goals so that your child can feel good about his or her progress.