There are times parents struggle to get their kids to practice, or even go to their lessons.
First of all, you need to know that it happens to other parents and kids too. And it is completely normal.
Nothing comes smoothly all the time. Think about the kids going to school, getting their homework and studies done. I would think most kids have trouble getting any of those things done some time growing up (even getting them to go to bed can be hard sometimes!).
So, when it comes to piano lessons, we need to accept that things also don’t always go well all the time. You might think, hey this is a hobby, so my kids (or I myself) should enjoy this all the time, because it is supposed to be fun.
Hmm, no. Because part of it is learning to play the piano. And learning involves effort. The more one wants to be better at it, the more effort, focus and time would be required. And I always want to remind people that, in order to have fun at the piano, you really need some skills to do so! Otherwise it is definitely not fun hitting the wrong notes all the time.
Playing piano is like playing any sports, or learning any language, anything that requires skills. The more you do it, the better you would be at it. But, it also requires the right kind of learning and practicing, the right kind of mindset to be good at it. And it is different for everyone what “being good at the piano” means. Some people just want to play a few popular songs and learn a few chords, others want to become professional and perform on stages. And they can both mean you are a good piano player. It’s really up to you. Again, my role is to guide you to where you want to be.
There are some basics everyone needs to learn though, that I believe in. So that’s why we do lessons on a regular basis. I have had students from absolute beginners to professional pianists and piano teachers, and I enjoy teaching them all. To me, piano is fun, and learning is a very fun thing to do. It doesn’t mean it’s easy all the time, in fact, when I improve, things get harder, and that’s actually fun and exciting for me, because I know I am getting better. Sure it can get frustrating sometimes, but so what? I know life is difficult at the first place, so I just take a break from time to time and keep moving forward. Easy is for those who don’t want to learn and improve, and that’s sure not me.
So, my advice to parents and adult students is, keep going.
For parents, it’s good to set up a schedule and routine for your kids, and teach them to understand that active learning is required during lessons, and regular practice is part of the learning process. Teach them the concept that learning is fun! Let them know that sometimes it’s not as easy as they want it to be, but that means they are getting better! Encourage your kids to learn and have fun, and put some effort into their practice. Be actively involved, listen to their playing, show care and interest in their lessons and practice.
Everything starts from the mind. If you know about this theory of growth mindset (vs fixed mindset), it is that growth mindset helps us to become better, and actually happier even when things get though, because we understand that is part of the process, it is ok to make mistakes and have setbacks, that’s part of growing up, no matter how old you are.
I have been teaching piano over 20 years, and from what I see, those who are flexible and have growth mindset in the learning process, are the one who enjoy piano playing and become successful at it. Constantly beating yourself (or your kids) up doesn’t help with anything – being self-critical is helpful to a certain extent, but try to do it in a positive way.
To adult students, love and accept yourself that you can make mistakes and have flaws in your piano playing is important, it doesn’t mean you’re being complacent, it just means you accept yourself at this current level, and you can improve from here. Look at how far you’ve come along: it requires you to look back. Appreciate yourself for putting time and effort in all this time. Then look at how much more you can accomplish next: that requires you to look forward into the future. You have so much time to learn and enjoy your music journey, no need to rush, just keep going and enjoy the ride, the process.
I sure hope everyone is enjoying my piano lessons and all the activities we’ve done so far. It’s been my privilege to get to know everyone of you and get connected. My goal is to bring this wonderful gift of piano/music into your lives, and that such gift would grow and flourish in your heart, to accompany you in this beautiful music journey of yours.