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Parents Corner

All of the questions and responses below are from real parents to Music Pillars. We have removed identifying information wherever possible. We think that these actual questions and responses are worth sharing because the issues/concerns are fairly universal. Obviously, individual students will have individual exceptions that should always supersede the generalized answers below. However, with that stated, these generalized answers are still useful and applicable to the vast majority of student and their parents.

Parent: 

I need some pointers on how to make the girl's practices more meaningful and successful.  When I ask them to practice they will play for about 15 minutes and say they are done.  Having no musical background I'm not sure what to critique them on etc.  shouldn't they be practicing at least 30 minutes a day?  If so what does that typically consist of? Thank you for your help with this....I know part of my frustration comes from me not being musical so I feel like I can't help them.  I have friends who are musical and I know they have their kids practicing 30-45 minutes a day but they can hear and catch when their child is struggling or needs help with the piece.  I wish I could.  Thanks again for your help with this.

Music Pillars:

Let's start with the second sentence from the parent:"When I ask them to practice they will play for about 15 minutes and say they are done." This is a common perception (especially from younger piano students) that students often have. The perception that the student has is that by "playing through" (which is usually more like hacking through with rhythm all over the place, poor dexterity/technique, no attention to dynamics, and no phrasing of any kind) that they have "practiced" the song and are done.  And in the case of many parents who do not have a musical background, they will feel the same frustration that this mom has articulated above. Namely; "what am I supposed to do?" We discussed some useful tools and "how-tos" in a Newsletter.