As you probably know, Andrea and I work from home. With schools now closed and our two girls with us around the clock, things are a little more raucous around the “office”.
We are learning very quickly, that if we are to maintain our sanity during these challenging times, our kids are going to need something that resembles a daily “school” schedule.
While it’s tempting and easier to tell them to just “go play”, kids need structure for their mental well-being.
And this is where music comes in!
I know that many of you are worried about the effects of a pandemic on piano lessons. But together we can tackle these troubled times. In fact, there is no better time than now to communicate to the parents of your students the true value of music.
In addition to providing a structured activity at home, when kids play piano daily they will gain a sense of purpose and accomplishment, be calm and relaxed, and, most importantly, feel like they are in control during a time when many people, including parents, feel out of control.
We are all, no doubt, looking for ways we can help right now. Do not downplay the power of music. Music gives people hope… and piano teachers give people music… even when everyone is locked in their homes.
So take the time today to send your piano parents the email we are sharing below. It will provide your students with a sense of purpose, calm, and normalcy while also encouraging them to maintain the skills they have worked so hard to acquire.
Email This Letter To Your Piano Parents
If you want to encourage parents to keep music alive while kids are stuck at home, copy and then modify the template below and send it by email to your studio families. Feel free to edit, omit, or add any details you to our template:
I’m sure you’re feeling overwhelmed with everything that’s currently going on around us. With kids now home from school I know that your life has drastically changed. As someone who has been a part of Sarah and Ethan’s life each week, I wanted to reach out.
In a time when your children’s schedules and routines have been turned upside down, there is one thing that can remain: music! Music has always given people hope, and people have always turned to music in difficult times.
With all of the changes that have happened so rapidly in Sarah and Ethan’s lives, the piano can be very helpful in maintaining a sense of normalcy in the weeks and months ahead. During these times of social distancing, your children will find themselves with more free time. Playing the piano can help fill the void that the loss of other activities has created while also providing a sense of purpose, control, and accomplishment.
Ensuring piano practice happens regularly will also keep your children’s skills polished, and prevent the loss of all the musical knowledge they have gained recently. Sarah and Ethan have worked so hard to progress, and that progress can be maintained and boosted with regular practice over the coming weeks.
While you begin to create a new schedule for your family, I thought it would be helpful to share some tips for incorporating home practice into your new routines.
- Set aside time each day that will always be “piano practice time”. Post a schedule on your fridge and stick to it as best you can. Your children will appreciate a predictable routine right now. Practice is more likely to happen if it takes place at the same time each day. I recommend practicing in the morning as your children will be fresh and free from other distractions that will inevitably happen over the course of a day.
- Try to be present during your children’s practice, even if you are just listening. Depending on age, your children may need basic assistance (organizing materials, reading my lesson notes, troubleshooting) or they may simply appreciate your physical presence in the room. Sit and have your morning cup of coffee as your children make music. You’ll likely look forward to this “break from reality” too!
- Keep your piano area free from distractions. For piano to become a happy reprieve, turn off the TV, remove younger siblings or pets and make the practice space welcoming. Be sure to declutter and organize materials so they are easily at hand. Your children may enjoy taking on the project of creating a “piano practice nest” (making their piano area cozy and welcoming).
- Be encouraging and positive about your children’s attempts at the piano. Don’t worry about fixing mistakes you may hear (that’s my job!) and instead be a cheerleader to your children’s learning efforts. Mistakes can be easily fixed. Right now, the focus should be on being enthusiastic about the learning process.
- Provide “reasons” for your children to practice. I know that family members who are not in physical contact with you right now would LOVE to have recorded performances or live FaceTime performances of your children’s music-making. Prepping for any sort of performance can be very motivating to children.
- Play piano games with your children! We all are finding ourselves with extra moments in our days now when we would normally be driving around to extracurricular activities. Take advantage of this newly-acquired time and have some fun while building important musical skills. I have piano games you can pick up from my porch and take home to play if you are interested.
I will continue to provide Sarah and Ethan with fun, motivating material that they will be excited to practice and I look forward to helping the piano be a constant in their lives during this time.
As always, if you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask!