Parent and child at the piano

Some parents like to sit in on their child’s piano class while others do not. What do I recommend, as a parent, you do?

I have known a lot of teachers over the years who actively discourage parents from sitting in on their son or daughter’s piano lessons. They have said to me that they feel uncomfortable with the parent in the classroom and, even worse, they feel like they are restricted in the lesson when the parent is present.

In my experience, there are two types of parents; those who think practising at home between lessons is optional and those who think that a good practice regime is necessary for their child to progress in their piano studies.

You will have read in my previous blog posts that my mantra is ‘practice, practice, practice’ and I actively encourage all of my pupil’s parents to attend their children’s piano lessons for some very good reasons but I also have some do and do nots while you attend.

  • Do pay attention to the lesson
    • you will be more aware of any instruction I am giving or any concerns I might raise
    • you will understand what is required of your child in the time between this and their next lesson
    • think how you can assist your son or daughter with any aspects of the lesson you think they are finding challenging
    • even if you have no musical experience yourself, you should pick up enough information to help your child at home between lessons
  • Do encourage your child to learn theory
    • as I wrote previously, learning to play the piano is greatly helped by also learning theory
  • Do not coach you child during the lesson
    • for example if I ask a question about a scale we are playing and they are slow to answer, do not answer for them
  • Do not tell your child off if you think they are playing badly or struggling with something new I am teaching them
    • positive encouragement is always better than negative chiding
  • Do not praise a bad performance
    • if your child has struggled with some aspect of the lesson this should be your cue to suggest additional practice time at home
  • Do not work at cross purposes with the teacher
    • If I suggest your child plays a passage in a score slowly don’t encourage them to play faster, for example, or simply skip the passage when you are at home
    • If I ask your son or daughter to play every day at home for 20 minutes, do not tell them it’s ok to only play for 10 minutes
  • Do engage with me
    • as a parent, regardless of your musical knowledge, you are an active part of your child’s musical education and I encourage you to talk to me about the lesson we just had; what you think worked well for your child and what you think didn’t work too well.
    • Although I have been teaching for over 30 years, no one knows your child better than you and letting me know what they react positively and negatively to helps me make subsequent lessons more productive.

At the end of the day, even if you have come to some arrangement about ‘pocket-money’, you are paying for the lesson. Not just the cost of the lesson but also the time you invest in bringing them to the class. I can teach most children to become proficient pianists and some to become exceptional players while others will reach a plateau and give up after a few months. The difference is usually down to how engaged their parents are in their studies.

If you would like to take your very first piano lesson or add to your existing piano education, please book a lesson with me today, you can book online.

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