Parent’s role in a child’s piano education

Many parents tell me when they first meet me, “I don’t know how to play the piano/I don’t know anything about music. How can I help my child with his/her piano?”

I have no problem explaining over and over again to the anxious parents. Instead, I think it does the students good when I take the opportunity to discuss further with their respective parents.

You know, my parents didn’t know anything about music/piano either. But somehow I have become a musician, a piano teacher and now a piano teacher’s teacher among many things. My two brothers, although didn’t pursue a career in the field, are very accomplished musicians and still love music dearly.

How did my parents do it?

My Father: lots of guidance and supervision. My Mother: lots of love and care.

It was always a habit that we must practice, no matter how much homework or test/exam revisions we had for school. I am quite sure that if we didn’t practice every single day we practiced five days a week at least (Actually I can say for sure we practiced seven days a week, worked like a convenience store). Always. Unless we were out for holidays overseas, and that was only a few days to a couple weeks at most a year.

We ALWAYS practiced, and we ALWAYS went to our piano lessons, EVERY SINGLE WEEK. (Unless for the same reasons above for holidays)

So again, my parents were not musicians and they never had any proper music training at any instruments at all. All they did were to keep us up with our practice and our lessons. My father did teach us to prepare for our grade 5 music theory exam, and all he did was to explain everything to us in English when we were about 10 or so. I still remembered vividly (now as a fond memory) that I pronounced “cantabile” as “can-ta-billy” as my Father taught me to speak it in English way instead of the Italian way  (“can-ta-bi-le”) !

Jokes aside, it’s all about the parents’ effort to keep up with their children’s practice and lessons. And frankly, without that persistence from the parents, the no.1 teacher in the whole wide world will not help any kid to become the next superstar. Do you actually think Lang Lang becomes one because he wanted to do that when he was 4? I don’t think so.

Parents must supervise their children at home for their practice and, cooperate and communicate with the teacher whenever they need in order to provide the best in the youngster. If parents think it is all the teacher’s responsibility to remind the children to practice, I can assure you it is wrong and it doesn’t go anywhere. No one would want to practice with so much self-discipline until they reach the point of some level of appreciation and achievement in that specific field they are at. Certainly parents and teacher are both aspired to bring the children to that level, which would be amazing to watch. But before that, there are so much for all parties to put in their work together.

Until the next post,

Teresa Wong


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