If your child doesn’t want to practice the piano, it’s important find out why. Of course, you know your child better than anyone, but we’d like to share some ideas on the subject.
Boredom Part 1
If your child doesn’t want to practice, it could be boredom!
Learning to play the piano is an activity that combines creative thinking with analytical problem-solving. How can such an activity be boring? Well, it all depends on how music— and piano-playing in particular — are presented to your child, presumably by their teacher.
A new piece of music should be introduced in such a way that the student’s imagination is captured. The teacher should play the piece for the student, should talk to the student about the character of the piece, about what the music may be about. The composer responsible should be discussed. A bit of context goes a long way!
For example, if your child is starting a new piece from J. S. Bach’s Notebook for Anna Magdalena, it’s great if the teacher can give your child some real, human background.
Who was Johann Sebastian Bach? Did you know that when he was a child (perhaps your child’s age), Bach’s older brother didn’t allow Johann to use his music scores, so young Johann would sneak the scores out at night and make his own copies by candlelight?
Who was Anna Magdalena? Why did Bach prepare a book of music for her? Is there more than one notebook?
As for the piece your child is playing — what might it be about? What might the composer have been thinking of, when writing the piece?
There is so much to discuss when introducing a new piece!
Boredom Part 2
If your child thinks practicing piano is boring, it might just be because he or she wasn’t taught how to practice effectively.
Effective practice, aside from being, well…effective…is not mindless repetition.
If your child is repeating a piece over and over again (not a good way to practice, for anyone), rather than identifying (with the teacher’s help) trouble spots and working through them systematically and rationally, how can he or she not be bored?
Your child’s teacher, as a regular part of piano lessons, should be teaching your child how to practice effectively.
Uncertainty About the Assignment
In order to engage in goal-oriented practice, it’s important for a child to know what he or she should be working on that week.
If your child is unclear about what to practice, then the practice sessions will likely be unproductive and not something a young pianist will look forward to.
Your child’s piano teacher should be clear about what to practice in a given week and what specifically to work on in the assigned pieces and exercises.
Ask your child’s teacher to write the assignment in a notebook, if the teacher doesn’t do so already.
Better yet, your child can keep such a notebook and can write the assignments him- or herself. Either way, make sure that there are some clear objectives for the week!
The Piano Is Used As Punishment
Your child’s experience with music should be a joyful one. It is a creative activity.
Learning to play the piano requires focus, regularity, and determination, but it should not become a chore, and should never, ever be used as a punishment.
One can understand a child’s reluctance to practice, if practicing the piano is somehow associated with being in trouble.