Practice Tips For Parents Part 2

Practice with your child

From the very beginning, until into the teens (and beyond them in a reduced quantity), you should be there to help your child practice. Focusing on students aged 4-10 there are many ways to help including: helping them follow the music, stay on beat, observe articulations and dynamics, workout difficult passages, analyze, stay focused, make sure no materials are left behind and more.

Helping your child follow the music

It is hard for most kids and even adults to play unfamiliar music without a)looking at his/her hands, and b)skipping a beat here and there or c)loosing his/her place. The sooner you can help them to eliminate
these bad habits, the better!  But remember, always be encouraging and patient. Sometimes things take longer than expected.

1) Standing to the side of the bench, point to the note with your finger (keeping your finger above the notes so that you are not in the way at all). Follow the pulse of the music and demonstrate it in the way that you point. When little Johnny stumbles, try to keep the music propelled foreword and tap lightly on the page to indicate that he/she should keep his eyes on the page (and not the keyboard).

Note: We should also be introducing the metronome at this point. Making at least occasional use of it and gradually increasing to using it all the time.

2) When this becomes easy by way of habit, try keeping the finger a couple beats ahead of the current beat. Start by being just 1 ahead and and gradually increase it up to 1 or two measures.  What we’re aiming for is for little Johnny to get used to reading ahead. This is ultimately how good sight reading takes place.  It’s similar to reading aloud. When reciting a text to an audience (or reading a newspaper article to your spouse at the breakfast table), one tends to to read ahead in order to make sense of the text before it comes out of your mouth.


  1. […] In part 2, I’ll be discussing some of these methods of helping, in greater detail. […]

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