Quick Tips

When to Move On to the Next Lesson

By Joseph Hoffman
when to move on to the next lesson

How often should your child be watching a new Hoffman Academy lesson? There’s a sweet spot between too fast and too slow in which a child will be making optimum progress. For most children, that will be two or three lessons a week. The beauty of online lessons is that each student can find their own pace. A child who is having difficulty with a lesson can spend several days on it, while another child who masters a lesson quickly may be ready to move on sooner.

Does It Have to Be Perfect Before We Move On?

Some parents want to see a child completely master the material in a lesson before moving on to the next one. Because review of old material is built in to our lessons, children can move forward before they are able to play a song perfectly. They only need to continue to make that song part of their practice routine. Children need new material in order to stay fresh and engaged. They may become bored if they are being held back. On the other hand, a child may want to charge through the lessons, watching several in a single day. This is probably too much for a young, beginning student. For older students or those who already have some piano training, it is okay to go through lessons quickly at first. They’ll probably slow down on their own once they reach a point where they are challenged by the new material.

Pacing the Lessons

Keep two questions in mind as you try to decide if your child is moving through the lessons at the right pace. The first is, are we learning and making solid progress? The second is, are we having fun and staying motivated? If the answer to both questions is yes, then you’re doing it right. As a child watches a new lesson, it is best to do it near the piano or even at the piano. Throughout the lesson there are times when students are asked to pause the video and practice. Make sure that your piano student takes the time to stop and play as instructed. Right after viewing a lesson is a good time to spend a few more minutes practicing. For the next one or two days the student can either watch the full lesson again and play along or practice as instructed, or review the material by practicing on their own.

Using Practice Sessions as a GuidelineHoffman Academy Practice SessionFor each lesson, I’ve created a Practice Session with a list of activities for students to complete when practicing. These Practice Sessions are available when you become a Premium Member. Not only do they take the guess-work out of piano practice, they’re a good guideline to let you know when your child is ready to move on to the next lesson. If the Practice Session proves difficult for your child, spend another day or two on it until they feel more confident with it. When your child can complete each Practice Session task, not necessarily perfectly but with confidence, you’ll know it’s time to move forward.

What’s Right for You

Parents should feel free to use the lessons in whatever way is best for their family. Let your child help decide when it’s time to move on to the next lesson. Most children will have a good sense of when they’re ready to learn more, and will enjoy the lesson experience more if they’re allowed to go at their own pace.

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