Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Reblog: Montessori Piano Teacher

Today's post comes from Montessori Piano Teacher. I've been following Laura on Instagram for a while now, and was thrilled when she started her blog at the beginning of the year. The following post is one of my favorites!

What Parents need to Know about Piano Practice

I know I said I would introduce you to some of my activities I use in lessons, but first since it is the start of the school year, I think this topic is an important one.
Your Child will need help
  • Up until about age 11 your child will need hands-on help with their practice.
  • Your help with practice will make a difference to your child’s progress.
  • Go through practice notes with your child and assist them where they need help.
  • Ask your child what their favourite piece is and to play it first (it is important to start the practice session off with something they can play on their own).
  • If you think your child is ready to practice with not as much supervision, stay close by and listen, even if you are in another room. If something doesn’t sound right go and ask your child to play that part again (while you sit and listen).
Organise a Practice Routine
  • Help your child organise their practice time. Practice needs to be part of your everyday routine (it is like brushing your teeth!). It needs to be done!
  • Set a practice time each day. It might be before school or after school after they have had their afternoon tea.
  • Shorter practice sessions to start with and gradually increase them until they are practicing around 30mins a day.
  • Practice directly after a lesson. Your child will remember what is expected from their lesson if they practice after their lesson.
Encourage your child
  • Encourage your child to practice. Give them a choice would you like to dry the dishes or practice the piano.
  • Attend your child’s piano concerts.
  • Invite friends and family over to listen to your child play.
  • Put aside some time to sit down and listen to them practice, giving them your full attention.
Your child needs a piano that is enjoyable to play
  • Buy your child a quality instrument that gives your child the ability to make beautiful sounds (not a toy piano from the toy department). Go to your local music store.
  • If you are unsure with what to buy, ask your child’s teacher (there will be some great affordable options).
  • Your child will progress a lot more if they are practicing on a quality instrument.
Provide a positive practice environment with no distractions 
  • Avoid practicing the day before or on the day of their lesson.
  • Stick to the practice routine.
  • Place the piano in a room that is central without distractions (turn off the tv, occupy younger siblings).
  • Try to avoid tucking the piano away in its own room. You and your child are most likely to forget about practicing if the piano is not seen everyday.
  • Help your child to decorate the piano area. They might like to play their favourite toy on top of the piano or display a picture they have drawn on the wall next to the piano (It is important to help your child make the piano area their own space, so it draws them to practice).
Communicate with the teacher
  • If you are unsure about what the teacher has written for practice, ask!
  • In order for your child to progress there needs to be a teacher, parent, student communication triangle.
  • Check in how lessons are going with your child’s teacher.
  • Ask for help if your child is finding something difficult at home.
  • Let the teacher know when practice weeks have gone extremely well (or not so well).

I hope you all enjoyed this post. Next time I think I will introduce some of my activities. Happy reading.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Upbeat Piano Teacher Webinars - Released TODAY!

I'm very pleased to announce that the new Upbeat Piano Teachers webinars, Engaging with Teens and Playing with Preschoolers are officially launching today, Monday, April 3rd! They are offering a fantastic special of $5 off as part of their launch special! Use code SAVE5 at checkout (coupon good through Monday, April 17th). 

BONUS: They're doing a random drawing giveaway for 5 free Waay app codes and 2 hard copies of the The Young Musician's Guide to Songwriting to the teachers who sign up during the first three days!

As part of Playing with Preschoolers, you'll get my interview about Creative Ideas for Preschoolers and Setting Your Preschool Lesson Rates, and I've included a freebie: Middle C I See! There are 6 hours of interviews, bonus resources, and lots of creative ideas for activities from the other guest experts. 

I've learned so much from Upbeat Piano Teachers previous webinars, and highly recommend these for professional development and growth as a teacher. Check it out here!

Saturday, April 1, 2017

What to Expect at Your Child's First Preschool Piano Lesson?

You've just enrolled your preschooler into private piano lessons! You and your child's teacher were able to find a time that worked for both of you. The invoice is paid, and soon, you'll be attending the very first lesson. What should you expect? How can you best prepare for that important first lesson?


If you've enrolled your child in private piano lessons, you are probably already aware of the many benefits of studying music. Piano lessons and music study can, at the very least,

  • Increase your child's attention span
  • Improve your child's language abilities and introduce them other languages, such as Italian, French, and German
  • Boost his/her self-confidence
  • Develop the capacity for musical expression
  • Lay the foundation for learning and music appreciation


How can you prepare your child for the lesson?

  • Explore your piano/keyboard at home; point out that some keys are black and some are white. Help your child find the groups of 2 and 3 black keys
  • Sing and listen to a variety of songs and music at home, in the car, etc.
  • Visualize the upcoming piano lesson with your child and talk about what to expect.
  • Make sure that your child is well-rested, fed, and healthy for the first lesson.
  • Trim your child's fingernails and have them wash their hands before the lesson.
  • If your child's teacher allows it, sit in on the lesson and take notes/videos so that you can help your child at home between lessons.
  • Practice identifying and naming the letters of the music alphabet (A, B, C, D, E, F, G)
  • Don't rush to the lesson! Rushing may make your child feel anxious. 


Preschoolers learn best through play. Because of this, excellent preschool piano lessons are centered around multi-sensory and educational activities. 

On average, a child's attention span matches their age in minutes, so an average 3 year old should be able to stay focused on one activity for 3 full minutes, a four year old for 4 minutes, and so on. When your 3 year old is enrolled into a 30 minute piano class, especially at the first lessons, there will be multiple activities to take part in that appeal to the child's individual learning style. 

When I teach a private preschool piano lesson, I follow a structured lesson routine (with some flexibility to fit each individual child's needs and learning style) to help children feel secure. I believe it is important to create an engaging, encouraging, and playful environment for this age group. Keeping children engaged is essential to maintaining their attention and creating an educational environment, so I plan a lot of activities.

Here is an example of a private preschool piano lesson in my studio:

Technical Activities

Piano Repertoire and Exploration

I love to teach motivating and fun music as much as possible! Here are books/collections that I frequently order for preschoolers: 


Creative Activities 


Even though the lessons may look like play time, your child is actually learning a lot! They are:

  • Developing a sense of rhythm, and once they are comfortable hearing and recognizing long and short sounds, learning to notate and read musical notation.
  • Expanding their language and communication skills
  • Learning how to improvise and create music
  • Developing the ability to recognize patterns
  • Reinforcing fine and gross motor skills
  • Ear training and echo singing
  • Learning to play the piano!


Review the lesson at home and dedicate some time to practice with your child every day. Try to keep your time spent at the piano together happy, playful, and as low-stress as possible to encourage your child to continue to love music. 


If you teach preschool piano and are looking for more ideas and inspiration, be sure to check out Upbeat Piano Teachers Playing with Preschoolers Webinar!