Investing in piano lessons for your child is a wonderful gift. However, it is shown both by research and by the ultimate success of pupils that effective learning comes when the pupil/teacher/parent triangle is effectively in place.
This means that parents should attend lessons in the case of primary school aged children, and some lessons in the case of teenagers. Just as in the case of homework from school, children will not naturally follow a good practice routine or make use of their time well. It is the responsibility of parents to ensure that a regular practice routine is implemented, and the parent should be involved in guiding the child to work on the tasks set. Sometimes tasks will be more listening or theory based; this is all considered part of the music practice.
Beginners should practise for ten to fifteen minutes a day (depending on the age of the child), more intermediate students for twenty to thirty minutes per day, and more advanced for at least 45-60 minutes per day. Practice is absolutely crucial to a child’s progress: piano playing is an incredibly complex cognitive activity, and muscles and physical memory need to be developed daily. When a child feels like they are making progress, they feel more inspired to improve. If they are not achieving the steps of progress identified in lessons each week, this can make them feel disillusioned. Without doubt, my most successful pupils are those who have a clear practice routine!
Practising at home
As part of the investment in music tuition, it is important that pupils have access to a good quality acoustic piano that is regularly tuned or a digital piano which has fully weighted keys and a pedal. In lessons, pupils will make use of both the full 88 keys of the piano and the pedal from the outset and it can unfortunately be a hindrance to their learning if they are not able to practise using these at home!