Many people believe that simply because I now create my own online piano courses, I must have been the perfect piano student all my life.
Nothing can be further from the truth.
You would be shocked if you know the number of times that I gave up piano, and told my mom that I will ‘never ever ever ever’ play piano as long as I live.
Long story short, I did return to learning piano again and again, but the cycle continued.
However, as I grew up I reflected quite a bit on my false starts and stops and realized that as a child I had very high expectations of my abilities.
This was not my fault alone.
As you know all the messages we seem to give our kids, make something as advanced as playing piano seem very easy when in fact it is not. This along with my mom’s teaching style (which I don’t always agree with) seemed to have a ‘grating’ effect on my nerves.
Needless to say, together it was a bad combination and my musical studies suffered.
Looking back on my experience, however, I’m glad that I was such a bad student and that my experiences with piano lessons and practicing piano and all things music in general, were not very pleasant.
It is that unpleasant experience that drives me to strive harder to design online courses that will give you and your child the enjoyment that I didn’t have.
Based on my own experience as a student, as a teacher and also as a parent I have figured out that there are 5 ‘surefire’ ways to ensure your child sticks with online or offline piano lessons or any other type of music lessons.
It Is Normal To Make Mistakes
I simply cannot stress how important this is.
Coming from a family of musicians, they all had very high expectations of me and my abilities at the piano. Mistakes were not acceptable and even though I often self-corrected during practice sessions, I was always yelled at before I could do it and it somehow killed the joy in playing the piano.
This is why I always reiterate throughout my Teach Your Child Piano courses that as a parent you should not point out the mistakes but rather let your child figure it out. If and only if your child cannot figure it out after a few attempts should you point it out and that too in the gentlest manner possible.
Read my article on why making mistakes when practicing is perfect, to use the tips I have suggested, to help your child through his/her frustrations at the piano.
The Story Behind The Glory
We are constantly bombarded with images of sportsmen and women, entertainers, and musicians who are excellent at what they do.
While there is nothing inherently wrong with this. Many children falsely believe that these individuals mastered their craft or sport with little to no effort and hard work.
So when kids make mistakes while practicing their first thought is ‘I will never be as good as…..” and they decide to give up.
Don’t you think that it is sad, that all we see is the final results and not the decades of blood, sweat, and tears that might have gone into making those individual sportsmen and women, entertainers and musicians who they are today?
If you want to ensure your child continues to learn music online or offline, then you should be willing to set the record straight.
Tell them that there is always a story behind the glory.
Tell them that often, the story behind the glory is not a pretty one, but one fraught with hours of tiring practice, which ultimately makes the victory all the more sweeter.
The study of music history and reading the biographies of great musicians can be of great value here because many of the most loved composers are known to have refined their skills through tens of thousands of hours of practice and hard work.
Go For Progress Not For Perfection
This is something I have found to be very useful when teaching children of all ages.
I’ve seen the results of focusing on progress rather than perfection to be profound and thanks to Carol Dweck, I have even found a term for it.
As parents, when we focus on progress, we are able to celebrate even the tiniest of improvements as a great victory for our child. This, in turn, helps build the child’s confidence and as you know success builds on success.
On the other hand, if we go simply for perfection alone, we can never celebrate victories and anything short of perfection will be considered as a failure.
As you may already know, doing so would be a recipe for disaster.
So don’t you think the better option would be to go for progress and keep your child feeling, happy, engaged and confident in her ability to play a piece or perform perfectly after many rounds of practice?
Celebrate The Victories Even The Small Ones
I’ve already told you this, but I decided to dedicate more space to it because I simply cannot stress how important it is.
If your child is trying to master a piece that has 20 bars of music and he can only play one bar perfectly, that’s ok. Celebrate it!
Set a goal to play the next bar of music with as little mistakes as he can and when he does, celebrate that too. When he perfects it celebrate it even more.
You get the picture, don’t you?
Lead By Example
As I have mentioned in my previous blog posts, children who have a high likelihood of learning to play the piano are those with parents who are willing to be fully involved.
To this extent, I have created a program that is geared 100% toward putting all the tools in your hand so you can teach your child piano even if you’ve never touched a piano in your life.
So take this opportunity to learn alongside your child. Do the same worksheets, play the games, practice piano with your child.
When your child sees you making mistakes and struggling just like her, you will see the transformation.
Your child who once was frustrated with herself will now see that even mom is finding it difficult, she might even realize that she is better at it than mom (yippee!!)
You won’t just be telling her that mastering a musical instrument takes time, patience and a lot of practice, you will be showing her with your actions.
You won’t simply be telling her that ‘failures are the pillars of success’, you will be showing her that you truly believe it.
When you tell her not to give up, she will see that you are not going to give up either and that you are persevering through the difficult parts.
Just imagine what doing all of this can do to building your child’s character.
So follow the steps that I’ve laid out, starting today and help ensure your child’s long-term success at mastering a musical instrument.
Want an online piano course that is not simply a course, but a course that will support you, hold your hand, take the guesswork out of teaching and all in all help you bond with your child like never before while taking a magical musical journey with her, then you should definitely check out my Teach Your Child Piano – Level 1 course.