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Piano Tuiton Blog

We are based in Brighton & Hove and teach all ages and abilities.

Here we'll discuss various piano related subjects such as practice techniques, advice for parents, beginners, posture & much more.

IIf you need some advice on anything piano related from developing healthy techniques to buying a piano contact us.

Brighton Piano Teacher

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         BLOG THOUGHTS

When learning anything communication of thoughts, ideas and needs is very important. It is vitally important that you, as a parent or student, communicate with your teacher and explain exactly how you feel the course of tuition is going.


There will be many opportunities along the way to let your teacher know what you enjoy and what you might not. The more often that this occurs the more accurately your teacher will be able to provide the kind of tuition that you want and need.


With all this in mind there are some things that are essential to learning the piano and whilst we can use the styles and types of music that you want to learn to develop those skills in a well rounded way.


Please remember your teacher is very experienced and knows a lot about the piano & that there is only one way to get better


Practice!   


Beginners Piano Lessons

Piano Tuition Blog 

 Learning how to practice is the key to learning how to play the piano. But learning effective practice techniques is a difficult task, especially for young children who haven’t yet learned to identify mistakes, let alone find effective ways to fix them. The key point parents and music students need to understand is that effective practice does not mean doing the same thing over and over again. In fact, mindless repetition can be detrimental if the student simply repeats (and hence learns) mistakes.

How Parents Can Help Their Children Practice

The quality of practice is so important that some teachers abandon time-based minimums for daily, and instead advocate setting practice goals that are centered around achieving certain technical or musical results.

Ironically, while the basics of good practice seem difficult for children (and sometimes, for their parents, as well), good practice habits actually make learning piano much easier, much less frustrating, and much more fun. By helping children establish good practice habits as early in their musical education as possible, parents will be putting a music student on the road to learning an instrument the most effective way possible. Bad practice habits leading to frustration and, often, quitting lessons

Goal-Centered Practice Strategies

Goal-centered practice instructions give more guidance than a simple mandate to “practice for a half an hour every day.” However, for parents to help, they have to be attentive not only to the fact that the child is sitting at the piano, but to what, exactly, is being practiced and how. Often, children will simply bang away happily for a few minutes on a song they “made up” or a chord progression their best friend taught them. Parents need to practice “mindful listening” as much as their children need to do engage in “mindful practice.”

Some samples of goal-centered practice instructions might include:

  • “Practice this scale until you can play it with your eyes closed.”
  • “Play each line of the song until you can play it with no mistakes.”
  • “Practice the right hand until you can play it with no mistakes. Then practice the left hand. then put them together.”
  • “Practice the song until you can play it with the metronome ticking at 100 beats per minute.”
  • “Count out loud.”

Even a non-musical parent can help a child enormously by going over the practice instructions point by point and asking the child: “Can you play that scale with your eyes closed. Show me.” Or: “Did you practice that line of the song so you can play it with no mistakes? Show me.” Or: “Your teacher wrote that you should be counting out loud, but I didn’t hear any counting. Can you show me?”

One sure give-away that poor practice is taking place is easy to spot. Most children will start at the beginning of a song and play through to the end, with intermittent stops and starts, occasionally correcting mistakes. They then go back to the beginning and repeat the process, generally with the exact same mistakes. Any reputable piano teacher teaches children to break a piece of music into small parts, and to correct mistakes before moving on. A child who is playing a mistake-ridden piece from beginning to end over and over again either has a poor teacher or is not following instructions.

Finally, parents should be sure that any written homework is completed before the next lesson.

Communicating with Music Teachers About Practice Issues

A parent can also help by communicating with the teacher. If the teacher does not include practice suggestions or goals in the assignment book, a parent shouldn’t be afraid to ask for suggestions. Similarly, the parent should also discuss any practice issues with the teacher. For example:

  • “Johnny seem to just rush through each piece and then he wants to turn the page and do something else.”
  • “Suzie thinks she is playing the piece correctly, but I can hear that something’s not right with the rhythm. She never counts.I don’t know how to help her.”
  • “I know you told her to use the metronome, but she says she doesn’t understand how to use it.”

A good teacher will have some strategies to deal with such problems, and can address these issues so keep communicating with your teacher as although the time spent in the lessons is very valuable to lay the foundations of good practice techniques, the real building work is done in the practice that the student does everyday.

Posted: Wed 13th of June, 2012