The Parent’s Simple Guide to Starting Children in Music
To help your child down the path of becoming a life-long music maker there are a few areas that you can address. The three most influential elements of success in piano classes for Wisconsin children are: a good teacher, committed parents, and a good instrument to practice on.
Committed, Connected Parents
While their role is often underestimated, parents make or break the musical experience. Apart from enrolling the child in piano classes in Wisconsin, there are a few simple things parents can do on a daily basis to promote the importance of piano lessons.
First, set a regular practice time. Just like dinner, homework, sports and baths, piano practice should happen around the same time every day. Child psychologists report that the happiest children are those who have a regular routine. Be consistent about practicing from day one and your child will get used to the schedule after just a few weeks.
Second, practice times instead of time. Setting practice sessions based on how many minutes only gets students watching the clock; practicing repetitions gets them focused on their music. A realistic expectation is to practice each song 3-5 times every day. Practice is done when it’s done, regardless of time.
Third, encourage your child. Even today, parents remain their child’s main influence. A few words of praise after every practice session will increase your child’s desire to make music… and make you proud. Finally, have face time with the teacher every week. Spending two minutes talking with the teacher after each lesson reaps huge benefits. During these short conversations, you will find out how the lesson went and where help may be needed. This also sends a clear message to your child that you take their piano lessons seriously.
A Good Teacher
Your child’s first experience with music will likely be the most lasting. While referral services and suggestions from friends can point you toward people who teach, you will need to dig a little deeper to find the right teacher for your child. Just as you set high expectations for your children, you should set high expectations for their teachers. Interview at least two or three teachers to find one who demonstrates a commitment to teaching, is well organized and has a good piano.
Start your search for piano teachers in Wisconsin at Steinway & Sons Madison. We have teachers who are experienced and friendly, and are dedicated to helping children learn how to play the piano.
You know your child better than anyone. If they have any special needs, ask potential piano teachers in Wisconsin if they have worked with other students with similar needs. Ask the teacher to describe the specific traits their best students have, then decide if they are a match for your child. Asking these Seven Key Questions will help you quickly gain insight into each teacher’s strengths, weaknesses and style.
- Why did you decide to become a teacher?
- How do you go about setting goals and measuring progress?
- Tell me about your most challenging student.
- How do you communicate with parents?
- What can you tell me about your student recitals?
- How old are the pianos in your studio?
- How often do you have your pianos tuned?
Remember, the goal is not to get ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answers, but to quickly learn enough about each teacher to find the best fit for your child.
A Good Piano
The abilities of the piano that your child will practice on vary depending on how well it was built, how old it is and how it is maintained. The best piano will be one that your child will grow “into” instead of “out of”.
The easiest and most cost-effective way to find a good piano is to visit your local piano dealer and work directly with the owner if possible. They will want to spend about ten minutes talking with you to get a good idea of your needs. With the help of this expert, you should be able to find a great piano in your price range in an hour or so.
A new, well-built piano – whether acoustic or digital – is always the best option for any student. Nearly 100% of students who start out with a good piano continue to take lessons into high school.
Some used pianos can be appropriate for beginning students, but great care should be taken to make sure the piano still has enough life left to inspire your student. In addition to the condition, all student pianos should have the five keys of piano construction.
Parents build the environment for practice, teachers provide the instruction and the piano rewards the player. By building a solid foundation, you can make your child’s musical journey a fun, rewarding and lifelong experience.
If your finances just make it impossible to buy a piano, organizations like the Steinway Piano Society offer free pianos to students based on financial need. We believe every student deserves to have a good piano.