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Piano can bring you closer together

Tuesday, September 17, 2019 by April Davis | tiptuesday

Can you think back to a time when an adult taking an interest in what you were doing made all of the difference in how you felt about that activity and how you felt about yourself  ?

As the parent of a piano student, if you don't play an instrument yourself it can be hard to know what to say to start a dialogue. I hear from the parents of my students: I don't understand what she's learning, so I have no idea if she's doing the right thing or not; Or, I tell him to practice every night, but it's becoming a struggle.

Friction and bewilderment are the opposite of engagement and relationship building. The following tips will help you shift the conversation and turn this wonderful skill your child is learning into a way to strengthen your relationship. When they know it's important to you, it becomes important to them. 

I want to show you more tools to engage with your child as they study. Here is an example of an emailed lesson note that my students get after every lesson. It's real and names have been blurred:

There are words in this note that the parent, who doesn't play an instrument, doesn't understand. Guess who does understand? The student! It's a great opportunity for the parent to engage with the student and ask, "Hey, can you show me what this word arpeggio means? I don't think I've ever heard that word before!" Letting the student play "teacher" is affirming and engaging.

There's also a quick reminder of how to practice at the end. There will come a time when a student can practice solo all of the time, but when a student is a beginner it's really necessary to assist at least a few times a week. They are just figuring all of this stuff out and you might learn a few things too! 

Alright, onto the pièce de résistance, insightful questions and words of encouragement you should totally steal:

  • Can I hear what you learned today?
  • Did you get a new song?
  • I'm making dinner now and I would love to have some nice background music.
  • Why don't we have a little recital after dinner? You can play us some pieces and then we'll all go out for ice cream!
  • Can you tell me what your teacher wanted you to work on in that piece?
  • Can I hear a piece you used to play a long time ago?
  • I noticed you really like that new song on the radio. Can you pick out the melody?

Do you have any insightful questions you can add to this list? I'd love to hear from you!

Davis Piano Studio has a few open spots this fall for Wednesdays and Thursdays. Register to schedule your audition today!