Summer has just begun, bringing with it a break from school for most children. Whether you get a summer vacation or whether your break comes at other times in the year, it can be a challenge to keep up a piano practice routine when other schedules change. With the right attitude and motivation, however, a break from school can be a great time for your child to focus on piano. Here are some ideas for making piano a part of your summer vacation.
Pick a Practice Time
I’ve said it many times before, it’s really important to choose your daily practice time and stick to it. Just hoping that piano practice will happen spontaneously sometime during the long summer day is probably not going to be effective. For most families, choosing a time early in the day works best, something that won’t usually get in the way of play time with friends or outdoor activities.
Plan a Piano Party
Nothing motivates a musician to practice like the chance to perform for others. Either on your own, or with other families that are learning piano, plan an end-of-summer piano party. Knowing that there’s a performance coming up will give both you and your child some extra incentive to make regular practice part of your daily routine. Mark the date on your calendar and get ready to invite your friends and neighbors over for some musical enjoyment.
For more details on how to put on a piano party, read this post.
Let Them Choose a Song
Does your child have a favorite song? Chances are, someone has made an easy piano arrangement of it. Go searching on the internet and you’ll find multiple websites that provide both free and inexpensive downloads of sheet music. Some of my favorites include sheetmusicplus.com, musicnotes.com, 8notes.com, and musescore.com.
Look for “Easy Piano,” “Big Note,” “Beginner,” and “Five-Finger” arrangements. Avoid getting sheet music that looks significantly more complicated than the piano pieces your child has learned in piano lessons, as this can lead to frustration. You can also browse the Hoffman Academy Bonus Lessons by hovering over “LESSONS” on the drop down menu at the top of this page, then moving the pointer down to “BONUS LESSONS” to find a song your child might like to learn.
Choosing a piano arrangement at your child’s level of a song that your child really wants to learn can be a great motivator, and is an important step in helping your child become an independent musician. You might be amazed at how hard they’ll work to learn a song they chose themselves.
Will you be traveling and away from a piano for a time? Music can still be part of your vacation. Bring along the Listening Album and the Practice Album and listen while driving in the car, or any time you like. If there’s no keyboard to practice on, your child can still sing the songs, either with the albums or on their own.
Your child can also practice on an “air piano” by placing their hands in piano playing position on any flat surface and tapping their fingers just like they would to play a piece they have learned on a real piano. Either do this silently while imagining the sound of the notes of the song, or sing along. This is a good way to make sure your child won’t forget what they’ve learned, even when there’s no access to a piano for an extended period of time.