Mistakes are an inevitable, even essential, part of life and learning. Think about the way a baby learns to walk. Was anyone there to point out incorrect technique? Fortunately for babies, when they are learning to walk they don’t care about all the rules of gravity and balance and posture. They simply one day decide they are going to try walking. And, after a few falls and stumbles, they get it! In my experience, if a child can keep that same healthy attitude of being OK with making mistakes, he or she will progress much faster at the piano–and at any skill.
What can parents and teachers do to help children not be afraid of making mistakes?
Here are a few ideas:
- Maintain your own child-like curiosity for learning and trying new things
- Develop and practice a healthy attitude towards your own mistakes and the mistakes of others
- Don’t be too quick to correct your child’s mistakes–kids usually already know before you say it
- Avoid scolding and negative emotions around mistakes
- Maintain a positive and light-hearted spirit during practice time and all learning experiences
When a mistake occurs, just think, “”Ah! How interesting!”” Then move on. No judgment, no worries. Just get up and try again. If we can learn to do this ourselves, and then in turn help the children we love do this, what a powerful tool for life we will be giving!