Be a Positive Practice Partner

practice partner
Having a positive practice partner makes a big difference in a child’s ability to progress in piano studies.

While it is important to hold a child to a high standard of playing, this can be done in a positive way!



Try to give your child feedback on the good stuff that’s happening rather than on the mistakes. For instance, if your child is missing the same note every time, don’t start out by saying, “You keep missing that note!” Instead, say, “You’re doing really well! You played it almost perfect. Let’s listen to that song again together.”



After listening to the song on the lesson video or on our Piano Listening Album which is part of our Complete Lesson Materials, ask, “Does it sound the same when you play it?” If you guide your child to realize the mistake on their own, he or she will be much more likely to want to correct it. Then, when your child plays it right, celebrate with a cheer and a big hug.



If you want your child to work on something like posture or hand position, try this game. Tell your child that you’re watching their hand position and will clap when they’re keeping their fingers curved and relaxed. As they play, keep up a steady clapping so long as they’re using a good hand position. Slow down or stop clapping if their hand position isn’t so good. Most children will work hard to keep the claps coming.



It seems like a simple thing, but it makes a huge difference in a child’s attitude if they get feedback for doing something right rather than for doing something wrong. Remember, keeping your child motivated is more important than correcting mistakes. When you do correct, doing it in a positive way makes practice time more enjoyable for everyone.
Happy playing!
Joseph Hoffman


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16 Responses to Be a Positive Practice Partner

  1. Hi Teacher Hoffman,
    I am pianist since 7 years old, and now I started give a class for children.
    i am Brazilian and moved to Melbourne just to teach for a children, but I don’t have bacharel of Music, but my passion is music.
    I am one month without practices piano since I saw your site and I am laughing a lot with your lessons, and now I started play on my table and it[s getting work.
    I have the first student here and what do you recommend me?
    Kind Regards,

    • What wonderful work you are doing! You are welcome to use our lessons as you teach piano to others. You may either follow our curriculum directly, or you can assign individual lessons for your students to watch as part of their daily practice time to fit the topics you are teaching. Good luck and happy teaching! :)

  2. My daughter learned piano for 6 months then she was bored and left
    My husband wanted her to continue
    So after a break of 4 months I started her with these piano lessons
    She is doing great
    Nice tips

  3. These are excellent ideas. Thank you. Your methods are so far removed from my mother’s teacher back in the 1940s! She used to tell us how her teacher held a ruler in her hand throughout her lessons and she rapped my mother (and no doubt other pupils) sharply over the knuckles when she played a wrong note or dropped her wrists or did the wrong fingering, etc.

    It’s remarkable to think that my mother continued to study and eventually got her licentiate and then became a piano teacher herself (the gentlest teacher imaginable).

  4. THANK YOU for this. We have a restored Baldwin grand coming any day. So excited to get started. You site will be so helpful!!!!

  5. Thank you so much for this wonderful article on positive reinforcement. As a self-proclaimed perfectionist, I struggle to keep myself in check when working with my daughter. I am excited to try this method not only in her music lessons but also with school work. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

  6. Thank you! My son is a little young to really start lessons, but I wanted to refresh my memory from childhood music classes. I never got very far and want to be able to help my child(ren) succeed in music. These lessons are truly helping and your advice will keep us moving in the right direction.

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