As teachers, parent education is a crucial part of what we do. Rebecca Pennington has written a short article which was distributed to our families at the New School for Music Study offering her perspective not only as a teacher, but as a "piano parent." The article is shown below:
As a parent, I know I want to be involved with my son’s musical journey. However, with two younger children, I am not able to be with him each moment of practice. And I do want for him to become an independent practice, capable of noticing and fixing his own mistakes. As the busyness of life crowds into our daily rhythm, I often find myself listening to him practice from the kitchen as I get breakfast for the little ones. I’ve noticed that I can still be involved in his practice, even though I am not sitting with him. Here are 25 useful phrases for helping a child with their practice when you aren’t in the same room:
1. Did play your warm up yet?
2. Listen for both hands playing together!
3. Remember to keep your fingers rounded.
4. Slow Down!
5. Remember to tap and count before you play!
6. That sounded great!
7. I loved that piece! Can you play it one more time?
8. Play it again and listen for a steady beat!
9. I really heard your piano sound that time!
10. Wow! Your forte really sounded like a big drum!
11. Today your lyrical playing was so peaceful and beautiful!
12. Slow Down!
13. Have you done your writing pages?
14. I love to hear you improvise, why don’t you do more after you finished your pieces?
15. What is next on your assignment?
16. What can you improve on the next time you play that piece?
17. I can tell that is your favorite piece!
18. You are stuck? Can you find your landmark notes? That will show you where to put your hands.
19. What is the hardest part of the piece? Why don’t you play that 3x in a row.
20. Try your RH first, then your LH. If that is easy, put them together.
21. Slow Down!
22. Have you played all of your pieces? More than once?
23. Why don’t you play your favorite piece one more time!
24. What a great ending to that piece!
25. I just love listening to you play the piano!