Anyone who has ever had the pleasure of knowing me before 7:30 AM knows I HATE mornings. Perhaps it’s because I stay up quite late and morning arrives freakishly fast in my world. Perhaps it’s because neither of my children slept through the night until they were three and I’m still recovering. Perhaps it’s because I’m in a heat-induced coma wrapped in my beloved electric blanket…
Whatever the reason, I am not a morning person.
But, I’m turning over a new leaf along with my piano students. Armed with the printables I’m sharing in today’s post, you and your piano students will be able to embrace mornings too. And here’s why…
The Magic of Morning Piano Practice
I’m always looking for ways to maximize practice time in the busy lives of my students. This is no easy task, because kids who are involved in piano lessons are typically kids who are also involved in sports, art, drama, and dance. Pile on the fact that all of these time-stealing activities take place after school (prime piano practice time) and you’ve got yourself a problem.
I was in Grade 11 (at exactly the same time I met my most massive time-stealer… Trevor) when I realized there was no way I was going to accomplish anything with my piano if I didn’t practice. And with homework, singing lessons, musical theatre, sports and… Trevor… it truly was impossible to get anything done after school or in the evenings.
So I did the one thing I absolutely hated to do; I got up earlier to practice piano. And it did wonders for my progress.
Why does morning practice work?
- Studies have shown that sleep directly (and positively) affects the learning of a fine motor skill. We actually did an interview with Dr. Karen Debas on this topic.
- No matter how many activities your students have scheduled after school, morning practice ensures their piano is never forgotten, crammed in or done haphazardly. Frenzied or rushed practice results in negativity towards the piano, practice fights with parents and other things we piano teachers would rather avoid.
- The excuse of “no time” is completely eliminated. With a simple adjustment to the morning alarm, your piano students can have all the time they need.
- The discipline of getting up early and practicing every day establishes habits that are pro-active and that will carry over into other areas of your students’ lives as well.
- The likelihood of parental involvement in practice increases, as your students no longer practice alone while parents are at work, driving siblings to other activities etc.
- As your students become teenagers, homework, jobs, friends and other extracurricular activities no longer pose a threat to their piano progress (none of those things happen in the morning!)
- Parents who see regular practice occurring are less likely to “pull the plug” on lessons due to life being chaotic and practice not happening. The parental “guilt” from daily practice being repeatedly forgotten is eliminated, taking one more stressor away from busy families.
- Starting a day off with music starts your students’ days with all of the wonderful benefits that music has been proven to provide such as mood improvement, stress-reduction, and mental alertness.
All of these factors combined means morning piano practice is one of the most powerful ways you can ensure that your piano students are practicing and progressing.
How To Make The Change?
So, if you’re convinced that the solution to your piano students’ practice woes lies in the magic of morning practice, then you’re just left with one little bitty problem… motivating your piano students to rise early!
How do you get them to make this change?
With a fun event!
We love sharing piano practice incentives… but one this is different; it’s about making the change to morning practice a memorable and fun event that will inspire your piano families to happily give it a try!
You’ll need the printables below to make it happen!
Announcement poster – Ramp up the excitement with piano studio decorations, posters and a big announcement on your Facebook page. The bigger deal you make about this (and the more fun you make it seem!) the more participation you will receive. Here’s a poster you can use.
Piano Pajama Day Activities – This is an exciting way to kick off the event and is a great way to get everyone in your studio involved. Invite your students to attend lessons in their pajamas and give some of our lesson activity suggestions a try!
The Morning Practice Sheet and Parent Info – This is the sheet your students will take home to track their week of morning practice and to let the parents know all about the event. It’s a fun way to encourage your piano families to take the plunge and set that morning alarm a bit earlier.
The Pledge of Morning Mastery – Finish off the week by having your students sign the Morning Practice Pledge, vowing to practice in the mornings at least 3 times a week. Post these in your studio as a regular reminder for students each week.
Wahoo for Mornings… I’m Off To Bed
To make this more fun for my students, I too am participating during our One Week of Morning Practice. I’ll be sending out encouraging group texts in the early morning hours each day during that week and I’ve also pledged to hit the piano myself every morning that week as well.
So, because I won’t be able to push “snooze” on my alarm 14 times like I usually do… I’m off to bed!
For more exciting ways to explore encourage practice, check out our resource Shhhh… Your Piano Teacher Thinks This Is Practice… 88 activities that are absolutely, positively, most definitely NOT BORING!