I dreamed of teaching my children to play the piano ever since I dreamed of having children. In my fantasy my little one would climb up on my lap and gaze at me with adoring eyes “Mommy… please teach me to play just like you!”. She would then listen intently, try diligently, play duets with me, and soak up every ounce of wisdom I could give her. She would, of course, be my star pupil and folks in the community would shake their heads in amazement wherever she would play.
And then I had Lexi. And then I tried to teach her to play the piano. And then I quickly arranged piano lessons for her with a teacher at our studio. And we’ve been happy ever since.
I’m Mom… That’s Your Piano Teacher
For my little one we needed a clear separation between Mom and piano teacher. Blending those two just didn’t work for us. I’ve stayed at home with Lexi for all of her first 5 years… perhaps she was just sick of me.
Or maybe I didn’t approach it in the correct way.
Teaching Your Own Child To Play Piano? Then Check This Out…
Lexi has been in piano lessons for over a year now and we are now (yay!) at the point where home practice together is the highlight of our evenings. She gazes at me adoringly when I play for her. We play duets. She listens intently and tries so hard to take my suggestions. It’s bliss. And for many parents who are piano teachers, teaching piano to their own child is a wonderful experience – they wouldn’t have it any other way. I’ve learned the following 4 tips from my own experiences and from talking to other piano teachers who teach their own children. It can work; it DOES work.
If you’re in the midst of “this isn’t working” or somewhere in between blah and bliss…and you desperately want to make it work, check out these tips for making parent piano lessons the stuff dreams are made of.
1. Follow a set schedule – just as you would your piano students, schedule a timeslot for your child that you keep the same week to week. Commit to that time as much as you would a paying student.
2. Make a clear division between lesson and practice – if every piano practice session becomes a piano lesson your child will get frustrated (and so will you). Children need that time in between lessons to fully process the new skills they have been taught. They also need that time to simply play… without being guided and without being continually challenged to learn more. Allow them to practice independently as much as you can. It will make your Piano Lesson Time together much more meaningful.
3. Keep your lessons free from distractions – keep siblings and spouses at bay during this time. Allow yourself this time to be for just you and your child. Ignore the happenings of the day. Avoid discussion about school, homework, why they may be grounded…;) keep it all about music.
4. Make a change the moment you notice things going south – don’t be afraid to make a change and pass your child on to another piano teacher if you reach a point where you can see they would benefit from the relationship of student/teacher. We all know that a special relationship between student and teacher is something that can make a very positive impact on a child’s life – when you feel your child may be ready to move on, don’t hesitate. A 3rd party in your triangle of piano education can be the key ingredient to maintaining your child’s interest in the piano… and may keep your dream of playing duets with your own DNA alive!
One of the funnest parts of our practice time together is helping Lexi work through the 88 days of practice found in “Shhh…Your Piano Teacher Thinks This is Practice.” It’s a great way to end our practice time together – she looks forward to it every day and will not let me forget to give her the “fun sheet” as she calls it. In fact, many of the activities we created with her sense of humor in mind! Teaching your own child to play the piano or sharing home practice time with them? Check it out!