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5: Piano Holidays (K-12) & Lesson Schedule / Sept 1 - May 31

"Remember - in music, as in sports, all 'most valuable players' spend time on the bench." - S.R.

Assuring a student's success with piano lessons is the result of a team effort between the teacher, student, and parents. A primary focus of each piano lesson is teaching the student how to practice each part of their weekly assignment. Practice instructions will be written in the assignment book and on the music. Parental responsibilities regarding student home practice and piano lessons include the points listed below -- all of which show the student that you believe learning music is an important and valuable endeavor.

1. Provide and maintain the best quality instrument possible. A "real" tunable, acoustic piano with a bench, working pedals and no chipped or broken keys is preferred. An electric, digital piano with attached legs (or on an X-stand) with 88 full-sized, touch sensitive keys and a piano bench also works well. A small keyboard with less than 88 keys is inadequate for even the first few weeks of lessons and is never an acceptable option. If you have questions about the purchase and care of instruments just ask the teacher. She can provide you with information and suggestions.

2. Provide a quiet, distraction-free practice setting (No TV, video games, etc.) with adequate lighting, piano bench and adjustable foot support for younger students.

3: Help your piano student learn to manage time for practice. Discuss the daily activity schedule with your child. Agree on a set time to practice each day and insist it be respected by everyone in the family. The quality and frequency of piano practice sessions are as important as the length. More effective results are often achieved with shorter practice sessions several times per day, especially with younger students. Never force your child to practice as punishment for misbehavior.

4: Daily practice sessions 5-6 times per week of 10-30 minutes for an elementary student, 30-45 minutes for middle school age students and 45-60 minutes for high school students should bring them to their next piano lesson well prepared and ready to progress if the home practice time was used wisely by following the teacher's written instructions. This may include first clapping the rhythm while counting outloud, next playing hands alone, then slowly hands together a few measures at a time. Repetition is important for success but must be done mindfully from the very first practice, paying attention to details such as steady tempo, articulation, correct rhythm and dynamics along with correct notes and keys played in the correct octave. Any assigned written theory work is to be considered a part of weekly practice.

5: The younger the student, the more an adult must be involved. No child, especially a beginning piano student, should be expected to do all of their practicing alone. Help them read and follow directions. Perhaps even play the pieces with them and sing along. You will soon appreciate the effort required by the student. And children always enjoy teaching an adult something new. Check the lesson assignment book weekly to see that all written work is complete, assigned reading is done, specific recorded music has been listened to. You may even see a "happy note" message from the teacher!

6: Make your child's music a part of your daily adult activities at home. Often the best time for effective piano practice is while the adult is preparing for family mealtime. This provides the student with the nearby supervision of an interested adult, the parent with enjoyable background music while working, and the eager performer has an appreciative audience. Results are a positive family musical experience with fun for all. 

7: Expect ups and downs in interest level and progress. Give positive, gentle encouragement and honest praise. A reward system can be helpful at times, even if just a sparkly sticker because the piano student remembered to practice without being reminded. Of course, natural consequences should also occur if practice does not happen. Specific rewards and consequences should be decided upon by the parent and student together when planning the week's activity schedule. Be prepared - students can be much tougher on themselves than parents would be when deciding what natural consequence will occur if practice did not happen as agreed to.

8: Regularly include age appropriate music and art experiences in the community when planning family outings. Professional organizations as well as Colleges and Universities are excellent sources. Departments of Parks and Recreation, Libraries, Science Centers and Art Museums, Dance and Theatre Companies, Opera and Symphonic groups all provide a wealth of enrichment opportunities in the arts, often with free or discounted ticket pricing for students.

9: Help your child learn resposibility by bringing them to piano lessons on time and with all of the student's music and notebook in the provided tote bag. Please remember: Do not drive away until the student is safely inside the teacher's front door. Return before the end of the lesson.

10: Always have your student attend lessons even though you feel the student is not prepared, has not practiced enough, or has an injury. There are many more aspects of music taught each week that do not involve "checking off" pieces. Time spent at the lesson focused on working out challenging rhythmic and fingering passages with the teacher, applying theory concepts to lesson assignments and sightreading new music is always beneficial. And the Studio has an excellent supply of music appropriate for playing with one hand if ever needed.

Bonus Tip: Keep the teacher promptly informed of any problems or special circumstances affecting the student. Together we can make adjustments, find solutions, and continue to progress.

*Discover & Express the Music in You*

Successfully growing Music Makers in the greater Columbus, Ohio area since 1987.  

Sharon Renkes Piano Studio

118 East Pacemont Road

Columbus, Ohio 43202  

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