Viva Recital 2017 - Parents' Session PART 2
Tips for parents
Let’s use a sports analogy. Basketball players must consistently work out in the weight room, run miles a day, and shoot hundreds of free throws a week in order to be physically and mentally ready for each game. Musicians use small muscles (embouchure, fingers, etc.) that need a constant regular workout as well. Especially at young ages, musicians’ muscles are developing very quickly with regular practice, so improvement is very obvious.
When to Practice?
Ideally, practice should happen every day. In our house, we are happy with 5 days a week for our young children. The bottom line is that we as parents need to help our children get in the habit of practicing, just like they brush their teeth and do their other homework.
How Long Should My Child Practice?
I am a big fan of the “10 minute rule”. 10 minutes of practice a day (for beginners) is better than nothing, and 99% of the time 10 minutes turns into 20 minutes!
Beginning students = 10 minutes/day*
Middle school students = 1/2 hour a day*
High school students = 45 minutes – 1 hour a day*
How to Practice
The sooner a child learns how to practice, the better!
The best tip I can give to parents is this:
Muscle memory and tempo are mutually exclusive. That means everything must be practiced VERY SLOW in order for the skill to be successfully “programmed” into the body.
This is very difficult for young children, especially when they are learning to play a song that they recognize. If mistakes are happening, it is more than likely that the piece is being practiced at a tempo that is too fast.
Students shouldn’t always start at the beginning of a piece each time they sit down to practice it. Work should be done on small “snippets” that give them trouble; practicing them slowly then speeding them up. Hard sections should be broken down into small bits, perhaps even to the point where they are playing single notes. These sections should be repeated many times until the music becomes easy to play. Then the student should put the piece back together and gradually bring it up to tempo.
Sometimes practice happens without making sounds. Students should take time to figure out the fingering of passages note by note. Any time a mistake occurs, your child should feel free to make a note in the music with pencil.
Practice with a metronome is huge and leads to tons of improvement! Students should set it at a slow count at first, then gradually increase the pulse until they arrive at the final tempo.
A digital recorder or phone is a great tool to use when practicing. Students can record themselves playing so they can hear problems, particularly regarding to rhythm and notes. This is a lot of fun for them to do, so encourage it!
Practice sessions should end by playing beautifully a piece that the student knows well, or anything they want, really.
By the 5th or 6th grade, your child should begin taking ownership over their learning. They need to understand that what you put in is what you get out. It is the parent’s job to get their child to that point by ensuring that practice happens daily. Kids won’t always understand this at a young age, but parents are doing them such a huge favour by not allowing them to quit. At the very least, children will grow up knowing what it takes to truly achieve something, and how to motivate themselves to do things that they might not always want to do.
Regular practicing is a path towards self-discipline that goes way beyond music — it's a skill that has hugely positive ramifications for personal fulfilment and lifetime success. (How "tiger mom" is that?) But the trick is that self-motivated discipline isn't exactly first nature for most kids, so it's up to families to help create positive, engaging and fun ways to practice as a path towards self-motivation. Having a goal for each practice session is essential, whether your child is practicing for five minutes or a couple of hours each day. As a parent leading practice, your aim in a session of five or 10 minutes might be to help your child really work through just one or two bars of music. That also makes learning a big hunk of new music less intimidating.
Just as you don’t give your children the option of failing to brush their teeth, bathe, eat or get dressed, so doing practice is not optional, even if that means you remind your child to do it every day for a decade. You are the parent: you make the rules. No one ever reached adulthood and said “I wish my mum had let me stop learning the piano”
Think long-term. In other words, don’t plan to ‘try’ piano for six months to see if it’s a good fit – if you want your child to learn to play the piano you need to be internally committing to at least three years of lessons and practice. Then you can reflect on how things are going. This isn’t about being a tiger parent, it’s about being realistic about what’s involved in gaining musical skills. (more…)
27 May Viva Recital 2017 - Parents' Session PART 1
Major topics shared during our session
Benefits of Learning Music
1. Better Response to Criticism
To get the most from this benefit of playing piano, it’s important to work with a qualified piano teacher who is able to give you constructive criticism. When younger students see their teacher as an expert in the field, it’s much easier to take their advice and feedback. And this ability to respond to criticism – and learn from it – will typically carry over to other aspects of daily life, such as school and work.
2. Improved Ability to Handle Stress
Participating in piano recitals, or even just performing in front of a group of friends, can help students deal with the symptoms of stage fright. Plus, all of the practicing leading up to the performance will help you learn about dedication, self-discipline, and the goal-setting process.
3. Learn to React Well to Successes and Disappointments
This is another skill you will gain from performing, especially if you participate in piano competitions. Similar to learning how to respond to criticism, you may experience some disappointment along the way. A good piano teacher will help you learn how to maintain a positive outlook, even when things don’t go your way. And when they do, you can celebrate your wins together!
4. Increased Social Participation
The ability to play in front of a group is an important social skill. It’s a great way to share your talents with others, and you may find yourself expanding your network as you put yourself out there in the musical community. Discussing your piano playing with other musicians is a wonderful way to improve your understanding of the instrument – plus, you never know how your connections can help you later in life!
5. Stronger Hand Muscles
Piano playing is helpful for developing dexterity in children and for maintaining strength in adult hands. Keep in mind, though: in order for your hand muscles to develop properly, you’ll need to learn the correct form and hand position for playing the piano with a professional teacher.
6. Improved School Performance
Studies have found that children who begin learning piano during grade school have better general and spatial cognitive development than their peers, which can help with mathematic skills. In addition, playing piano can help with concentration and therefore improve students’ overall school performance. (Learn more about how music lessons make you smarter here!)
7. Aural Awareness
Whether you naturally have a good sense of pitch or you struggle with this skill, piano playing can definitely help you improve. Some of these benefits of playing piano include developing a sense of relative pitch, and training your mind to recognize tones, intervals, and chords, which can help with learning music theory later on in your studies.
8. Split Concentration
When you’re first starting to learn how to play the piano, it can be incredibly frustrating to coordinate your two hands each playing something different. But the more you play and practice, the easier it will get – trust us! Even simpler pieces can teach you the skills and focus you’ll need to improve your skills.
Split concentration is not just a physical ability; you can also use the skill for listening. If you’re taking lessons with a piano teacher, you’ll likely learn how to listen to the sound of your playing as if you were both in the front of the concert hall and to the back of the room. You can use the mental part of this training in everyday life to improve your multi-tasking skills. (more…)
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For Music Courses (Violin, Piano, Guitar and Vocal): Signed up for 1 Term and enjoy the 5% discount on lesson feel
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HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY EVERYONE! (more…)