Have you ever worked with your child at the piano when you are stressed?…pressed for time?….trying to meet the needs of other family members?…cooking dinner? If your head isn’t nodding up and down then I am amazed!!! The lives of parents are busy…and that is an understatement!
Ideally we would all love to do practicing when the house is quiet, interruptions are unlikely, we have unlimited time, our child is happy and well rested with a full tummy. Practicing under “ideal” conditions would guarantee a success every time, but it is a pretty tall order for today’s households…if we want to get all of our practices in.
When practicing with your child under less than “ideal” conditions it is easy to become impatient, frustrated and tired. Sometimes it doesn’t go well and we feel like nothing is being accomplished. There is something you can do that will turn it around though! Look for a silver lining and turn it into a golden moment!
- Notice the things that your child IS doing right and comment on that. “Oops that is the wrong note but you played with wonderful spider fingers! Let’s try again.” When you are always looking for the good things, it is easier to stay positive and keep things moving productively. Negative comments have a way of spiraling into a power struggle and little is accomplished.
- Remember that the learning process is just as (or more) important than the product. The time you spend guiding your child to figure out how to play something on their own is far more worthwhile than pressing the keys for them so that the song sounds correct. Let him/her discover, deduce, make mistakes…it is how we learn. It is ok if you spend a whole practice going over keyboard geography or rhythm. Basic concepts learned well make learning pieces so much easier. You will be rewarded in subsequent practices!
- End on a positive note! Play or sing a favourite song. Ask your child a question or questions that you know they can be successful at. Let them leave the practice with a good feeling about music and him/herself.
- Forgive yourself if you were less than patient today. Tomorrow is a chance to try again.
One of the most wonderful parts of Music For Young Children is the chance for parents and children to work together, learn together and enjoy some special time together. Embrace the “silver linings” and you will find the precious time you spend with your child to be “golden”.