So many times parents ask me, “How long should my child practice to get good?” Well…from the age 8-12, I practiced 30 minutes a day for 5 years. Was I pretty good? Yes, the hard work did pay off. I can safely say, I made my parents proud in my piano recitals and church performances. Did I come to enjoy it? Never. My negative feelings for piano never left during those 5 years of piano lessons. Eventually, my mother's will broke and she allowed me to stop taking lessons. I felt victorious. And I stopped playing piano for several years. So maybe, that’s the wrong question to ask. What about, “How can we make piano more fun?” or “How can I get my child to connect to their instrument?”
Sometimes, all you need is a good teacher to fuel that desire. I believe a good teacher makes a student believe that their dreams are not only possible but also, achievable in the very near future. Sometimes, it's a friend, a parent, a community, a society, an admirable musician or celebrity...the list goes on. The point is to find the origin and the, or lack of, and go from there.
My problem that needed attention ASAP, was that I had no connection to the music I was playing. It was dull and boring to me and limited my ability to envision what I could actually do with this skill of playing piano. If my piano teachers had stepped in to broaden my view of piano, I could've lit that spark of musical passion much earlier. Once it was lit, I couldn't stop dreaming of where music could take me. It was a new, exciting, and powerful world.
After slamming the door shut on piano and all my negative feelings associated with it, I was eventually able to reset my mind and put that resentment to rest. However, the desire to connect to music sought for another way. The fact was, I was musical. Music drew me in and music has always been a powerful force in my life. My mom knew this, she saw my talent and that was why she fought the battle for so long. But she didn't know how to press the "activate" button. Once you activate a musician, the desire to make music is eternal. (Now...can you make a musician or must you be born one? That'll have to be another blog...) My re-introduction to the music world was through the guitar. I chose the guitar because it screamed cool to a teenager. But more importantly, this time, I chose to begin this musical journey. I chose the music I wanted to play. Playing guitar eventually sparked my desire to re-learn piano and experiment with other instruments such as violin and percussion. I began pecking at the piano, trying to play songs by ear that I had heard on the radio. I wanted to be apart of the music that I liked to listen to. I watched YouTube videos, I asked other musicians, I was intrigued- my image of the piano finally changed- and I actually went out of my way to start practicing the piano. But this time, it didn't feel like practicing. The piano didn't equal boring sheet music anymore. Some days I practiced an hour, sometimes more, and some days it was 15 minutes. Except I didn't call it practicing. I saw it as a hobby- it was fun. And there is no set time for fun. I had now found a great way to communicate and create.
Some of my music students practice their advised 20-30 minutes as often as they can during the week, but the ones that excel are the ones that never time their practice sessions. They're focused on reaching the goal rather than the time. To recap, check the student’s vision. Is it there? We want to make sure what's fueling the student comes from within. This will be evident when the student subconsciously setts goals for themselves. Next, how strong is their vision? Can the teacher or parent help fuel it? Support, even a little, can take a student a long way. Once my students reach their goals, they feel the work has paid off- they feel like champions. And being a champ, is fun.
Our musicians teach in your home or virtually, at your convenience. All musicians have passed a background check, are insured, and are reliable role models who have many years of experience working with children and adults. Flexible, fun, motivating, character building, and creative- we are positive we will bring out the best musician in you!