Teaching piano to your own children
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From Rebekah Maxner: Separate “Teacher” from “Practice Monitor”
Teaching piano lessons to your own children is one of the greatest joys – and one of the greatest challenges – for a piano teacher. The biggest thing to remember is that your relationship with your child is more important than the accuracy of their playing.
In the actual lessons, be careful of your ‘pianoside manner’. It helps to set a prime time slot between other students when your child will have energy. Don’t compare them to other students.
Have someone else to prompt and monitor weekly practice, and maybe even get out of house.
Avoid treating piano practice as a chore or even mentioning it in a list with other chores. Sometimes when your kids are tired or overwhelmed with life, it’s okay to let piano practice go for that day. Model practising and playing yourself, showing your family the joy of music.
When teaching piano to your own children, be patient. All good things take time. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
For more fantastic resources from Rebekah, visit her website.
From Jan Hess: Set Expectations
It was a joy to teach my own children piano and I believe you, too, can be successful if you keep these rules in mind:
- Give your kids a specific lesson time and stick to it. Wedge them between other students with a clear beginning and ending time.
- Keep your expectations of your own children the same as your other students: amount of practice time, keeping fingernails trimmed (!), performance opportunities and the like.
- If you have some type of group lessons or activities in the studio, be sure to plug your kids into a group too so they can enjoy the social aspect of piano lessons and the chance to share with other students.
When I was teaching piano to my own children, 2 of them each had a year of furlough from my studio for various reasons. But they always returned to me – and quite enthusiastically! I’m happy to say that all three of my children achieved a functional level of playing they’ll be able to use throughout their life.
To learn more about Jan and her studio, hop on over to her website/facebook page. (?)
From Melissa Quilitzsch: TBD
Teaching your own children can be a positive or frustrating experience for all parties involved – and that really depends on you!
One thing that I can’t stress enough (as Jan also mentioned) is the importance of setting reasonable expectations. Don’t expect all of your children to fall in love with the piano or be mini Beethovens. For example, when I started teaching, my oldest child was about 3 years old. She had excellent fine motor skills for her young age that I figured she’d be ready for a few lessons. Well, the truth is, she wasn’t ready – not in the slightest – for the ‘My First Piano Adventure’ series I had gotten her started with. Instead of coming to grip with reality, we continued on for several months. We stopped lessons for a bit until she was about 7 and was showing more of an interest.
My middle child was a very different experience. Knowing what happened with my oldest at age 3, I didn’t even think about starting lessons with her until at least 4 years of age. Her 4th birthday came, and she was so excited because now she could finally take piano lessons from mom! She studied with me until her late teens when she needed a serious teacher to prepare her for college. She’s now a 2nd year Piano Performance major at a large university.
My youngest child taught me a lot about what parents go through at home. He was a chronic non-practicer. Once he started earning some money for doing household chores, he would practice because that would be one of his chores. He still didn’t like practicing though. Once, he even recorded himself on the digital piano “practicing” so I would think he’s busy but I found him in his room playing with legos! He got better as he got older, but he also branched off to playing the guitar, which he absolutely loves. I still give him a lesson now and then but it’s very casual and usually is structured around pieces he wants to learn.
Out of my three kids, only one became a music major. However, all three of them love music and that’s what is important!
Find more about Melissa’s studio on her facebook page.
Have you tried teaching piano lessons to your own kids?
What was your experience like? Share the good, the bad and the ugly in the comments below so we can all learn from it. 🙂
For more resources about lesson strategies, check out the articles on Nicola’s centralised hub page devoted entirely to Planning Piano Lessons.