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Supporting Your Child's Practice

Tips for Supporting your Child’s At-Home Practice

Thank you to NSMS Faculty member and parent, Allison Fog, for sharing some tips for establishing effective at-home practice routines.

1) Establish a Consistent Routine

  • In order for a behavior to become a habit, consistency is essential.
  • Work together to decide a practice schedule that works for your family, and stick to it!
  • Use rewards if necessary. They don’t have to be expensive or full of sugar! The best is spending quality one-on-one time with your child or family.
  • Try practicing before school. Your child will be well-rested, and may do his/her best thinking early in the day.
  • If a full practice session in the morning is not possible, consider breaking up your routine into smaller segments.
  • It will be easier to remember to practice if it occurs at the same time each day.
  • Check out the sample practice schedules below. One may work for your family!

2) Create a Functional Practice Space

  • Be sure your practice space has everything your child needs to complete his/her practicing.
  • Take care of your instrument–have it tuned regularly, and be sure the pedals work properly.
  • Minimize distractions. Turn off the TV or computer, especially if they are in the same room or close to the piano.

3) Be Enthusiastic!

  • Ask your child to play their favorite piece for you.
  • Have your child teach you about a good hand position or posture. Let them correct you!
  • Make a recording, then share with family and friends.
  • Listen to music together. Share some of your favorite music with your child! Any style is fine!
  • Jump, swing, or clap a rhythm from one of your child’s pieces. (You may ask your child’s teacher for a suggestion).
  • Ask your child to show you how to notate music.
  • Draw some simple rhythms together, then clap or walk the rhythm. You can use the piano, or anything in your home that makes noise! Pots and pans and spoons work well.
  • Attend a concert together.

Sample Practice Routines

Child #1: Before School Routine

Weekday Schedule

7:30 am—Breakfast

8:00 am—Practice piano

Weekend Schedule

12:00 pm—Lunch

1:00 pm—Practice piano and complete written work, if

assigned.

Child #2: After School Routine

Weekday Schedule

3:45 pm—Snack

4:00 pm—Practice piano

Weekend Schedule

8:00 am—Breakfast

9:00 am—Practice piano and complete written work.

Child #3: Evening Routine

Weekday Schedule

6:00 pm—Dinner

6:30 pm—Practice piano

Weekend Schedule

12:00 pm—Lunch

1:00 pm—Practice piano and complete written work.

***For all of the sample schedules above, piano practice immediately followed a meal or snack, since those are activities we routinely do throughout the day. This type of “chunking” may work very well for your family.

***Consider keeping a practice journal for 1-2 weeks as you work to establish a consistent routine

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