Throwback Thursday: At the 2014 Spring Recital, Josue Levis Jr. performed “Starry Night” composed by Carol Matz.
Holly Hughes was the first student in Expressive Keys Studio to reach the Memory Challenge during the 2016-2017 school year. In fact, she pushed herself to memorize above and beyond her goal. By the end of May, she aspired to have 25 pieces memorized and ready to share whenever the opportunity emerged.
Mali Hanner plays Got Those Blues from the Adult Alfred series. It’s her first year learning to play blues, and she is enjoying every moment of it.
Vanna Chun learned Harvest Festival by Martha Mier. Her dynamic contrast and expression has developed immensely through this piece.
Abigail Fisher, Sophia Fisher and Jamie Fenton play an arrangement of Amazing Grace. Playing six hands at the piano is no easy task, but so worth the effort to make music together!
Over the years, I’ve noticed that the months of February and March seem to be the time of year that students begin to slack in their practicing. With a little planning, tools and communication, it won’t take too much time to encourage your kids to continue mastering their art.
1. Watch it
Set aside an evening together and look up YouTube videos of students their own age playing the piano. Record your children playing a song of their own and share it with friends and family.
2. Be Consistent
Establish a practice schedule together. Rehearsing the same time every day creates consistency and a good routine. As students practice daily, they will be naturally inspired by their own progress. If they can’t seem to stay focused during the chosen time, rearrange the schedule or break it up. Try practicing half the time before leaving for school in the morning and half the time when they arrive home from school in the afternoon.
3. Keep it all together
Provide a system that helps your kids stay organized. If they can’t find their music to practice, they waste time, energy, and may give up quickly. Using a basket or a reusable grocery bag to hold their music and assignments is a simple way to keep it all together.
4. Motivation is key
Provide an incentive for consistent practice. Going on a vacation during Spring Break? Choose a fun place or activity for your kids to do during the vacation. Create short, attainable goals for them to reach in order to do that fun activity. For example, every 5 days they practice, they earn points toward the fun activity. Keep track of it on your smartphone. There must be an app for that! If you know one, please share in the comments below!
If all else fails, some students simply need to be pushed. Talk about expectations of piano practice (30 minutes each day, 5 days a week, M-F) and explain the consequences for not practicing (no digital devices over the weekend; an extra chore for each day they didn’t practice). They can “earn” their privileges back by practicing extra to make up for lost time.
Have you found successful ways to keep students motivated?
Vanna Chun performs “Morning” by Edvard Grieg, arranged by Faber, in her lesson.When Vanna found out that I wanted to post her video to YouTube, it motivated her practice and memorize this piece within no time!