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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Music Part 3 - Practice makes perfect

People often ask me how my children learned to play the piano so well.  They are surprised that they had no formal training.  As I said in my last post, starting around age ten to begin lessons and practicing consistently will go a long way towards achieving proficiency.

But what if your child doesn't want to practice?  You first need to ask yourself if your child really wants to learn or is he just doing it because he has to.  Is he ready to make the commitment to practice?  Is his schedule too full with other things?  Does he need a little motivation?  (incentives, bribes etc.)  When one of my children was 12 or 13, she decided she didn't want to practice any more.  I told her that it was ok, that maybe she wasn't ready to commit to such an undertaking and I would give her a year off.  Well, after about a week, she came back to me and said she was ready to commit to practicing because she missed the piano.  Having her come to that conclusion on her own was a lot easier than me having to threaten or demand and make it a power struggle. 

Practicing the piano was just part of the day for my kids.  I think the most we had using the piano was six children and that took some scheduling to fit them all in.  Maybe they realized that if they missed their time to practice, there wasn't another time the rest of the day.  Whatever the reason, they all practiced regularly and it wasn't long before the music itself was the reward for their effort.


  1. I really like your music series! It explains a lot about how to approach the non-traditional way of learning instruments... I hate the thought that you have to have a teacher to learn everything.

  2. Thank you! Teachers can be wonderful or horrible, depending on how the teacher and student get along together. A wonderful teacher can inspire and encourage but a horrible teacher can make a child hate music forever. I think it's good to know there are other options available if, for whatever reason, the traditional way can't be done.