My 7 1/2-year-old DD has been taking piano lessons for about a year and a half, since January 2005. I had to talk the piano teacher into accepting her so young since she JUST turned six when she started, the teacher said she normally didn’t start students while still in kindergarten like my DD was, usually she waited until later first grade to second grade, but I had taken lessons for about 10 years, and could help her. She is really quite good for her age, and the teacher comments frequently about how good she does. However, DD said the other day she wanted to quit taking lessons because practicing is so BORING. She doesn’t practice THAT much, usually just plays all of her songs, (maybe 3 or so, plus a finger exercise) once, although I’d really like her to play them twice or more, so maybe 15 minutes tops a day. How can I make practicing more fun for her? She is in the Alfred’s Basic Piano Library series, and she’s at level 2. I don’t think the songs seem boring, most are recognizable tunes which I think would make them more fun to play. I thought about playing them for her, and then having her practice, but I don’t want her to just learn playing by ear either. Any other ideas? I really want her to continue, I think she’s good at it, and I loved taking lessons when I was a kid.
Sorry…I must be BLIND!
Gotta open my eyes more often! :shock:
Your daughter is doing VERY well if she’s already in Level 2 Alfred. Congratulations! Level 2 is actually a kind of “plateau” for piano students. Many students are tempted to quit at this level, because they feel like they know enough. (Which is not really true, but can be difficult to convince a youngster.)
Anyway, the Alfred series is a good method, but I actually prefer to use the “Piano Adventures” Piano Method by Nancy and Randall Faber. Their books have more up-to-date songs and lots of interesting pieces as well. Here is their website. http://www.pianoteaching.com/publications/index.html
Maybe your teacher hasn’t heard of them? I’d be shocked if that’s the case.
Another thing you can do to encourage more practicing is to order accompaniment CDs for her books. She can play along with these to make things more fun.
Does she have a keyboard? Many teachers don’t want their students to practice on a keyboard, but I encourage mine. I think they practice more often if they can play their pieces with “cool” sounds. They can also use headphones, and play as LOUD as they want, without disturbing anyone. Some keyboards have a recording function, which makes things even more fun for students. They can record a piece and listen to themselves perform, while dancing around the room.
I would not have a student practice solely on a keyboard, though. They need the “feel” of a real piano to keep their hands in good playing shape. A real piano requires more “muscle” to play. Hands and fingers get lazy on just a keyboard, because the key sounds immediately as soon as you touch it.
If these things don’t help, let me know. I can recommend some online piano games.
Here are some listening files to hear some pieces from the Faber series I like:
Faber sounds familiar, I’m pretty sure she uses some from them too. I know she will “mix up” with different series, as there isn’t an ideal “one size fits all” piano curriculum.
She does have a keyboard with full size keys (and plenty of funny sounds!), that is a good idea to have her practice that.
She might like some piano games too though if you have some to recommend.
Thanks for the ideas. She hasn’t mentioned quitting again, I really hope she can and will stick with it, I think she has talent! I think one issue is that she has small hands for the difficulty of music she can actually play, sometimes those spans can be difficult for her to reach, but her teacher doesn’t force them on her either, she recognizes that they are tricky for her too.
If it’s any encouragement, I also have very small hands…STILL. There are some pieces I cannot play because of that, so I just keep playing the ones I can. Some composers have large hands, and write their pieces without considering the rest of us! :??
I do the same with my students. LOTS of variety. They get bored otherwise.
Here are some of the games I have found online:
And here is a free online Piano Tutor, with lessons you can take anytime.
There are also some computer programs you can purchase which are lots of fun. I like Music Ace for my students.