baby-playing-piano-with-mom-e14036160364611. Your child will need help – Up until about age 11, kids need hands-on help with home practice. Even though you may not read music or play the piano, your assistance is essential. Parental help can take the form of reading lesson notes, organizing practice time wisely, providing encouragement through difficult sections or situations, and problem solving. Your help at home will make a substantial difference in your child’s progress.

2. Your child needs you to establish a routine – Piano practice that happens every single day is by far the most effective practice structure. A student who practices 20 minutes, seven days a week fits in 43 more hours of annual practice than the student who squeezes in three 30 minute sessions weekly. Short, focused, and regular visits to the piano help your child retain and understand what he or she is learning. If practice is enjoyable, rather than consistently tedious, your child will more naturally increase practice. Setting a regular practice time will help your child stick with the routine.

3. Your child needs consistent encouragement – Learning to read music and play the piano can be difficult and overwhelming at times. Your child, no matter what age, needs lots of heartfelt encouragement. You can show your child that you value his or her efforts by enthusiastically attending recitals, inviting friends and family to listen to practice sessions, and listening to practice time with your undivided attention.

4. Your child needs a home instrument that is enjoyable to play – Much of the joy from playing an instrument comes from emoting feeling, nuance, and expression through music. Choose an instrument that gives your child the best opportunity to make beautiful sounds. An investment in a good instrument protects the investment you are making in your child’s musical education.

5. Your child needs you to communicate with me – Working as a parent/child/teacher triangle is the best way to ensure progress and success. Be sure to communicate often with me. Check in on how lessons are progressing. Ask for help if something is difficult for your children at home. Let me know when practice weeks have gone extremely well – or not so well. Working as a team means your child is well supported.