The single most important determinant of success is….
Piano is not like other activities your child will be in… a minimum practice expectation is 5 days per week. More is wonderful!! But 4 days will mean your child will begin to struggle with the material, and three days means he/she will begin to fall behind. If you are only practicing 1 or 2 days, then what it really means is that our lesson time is another practice time, and we are not really learning any new material.
Now, this does not mean endless hours at the piano. Beginners should aim for only 5-10 minutes per day to start, and this will increase to about 15-20 minutes a day by the end of the first year. For intermediate/advanced level students, you will be expected to practice a minimum of 10 minutes per grade level (i.e. a student in RCM Grade 4 should practice 40 minutes per day).
The most important thing to establish is consistent routine.
I understand… I’m a parent, too… and sometimes it is hard to find even 10 minutes!! But, think about that! We are so busy that finding 10 minutes can be difficult. So it comes down to a matter of priority and scheduling. Here are a few observations I have had, and those of MYC Coordinator for Saskatchewan, Anita Kuntz:
“My child just doesn’t like to practice, and he would rather be playing with his friends…”
My answer to this is “what will you say when your child says that he doesn’t like spelling, or math?”
Music should not be viewed as just another activity… it is an academic pursuit which complements and enhances what your child will learn in school.
It supports reading and math, and numerous studies prove this. Click here for a recent published paper of neuroscience research into this area. In fact, recent research shows improvement in intelligence testing after only 20 days of music training!! Some of the long term benefits of music study are the improved recovery from stroke, a delay in onset of dementia, and to compensate for hearing loss in adults. CONTINUED→