Growing up, my parents didn’t care much about making piano practice fun. Learning the piano basically became a daily chore. Unfortunately, I’m not nearly as good at playing the piano as I could have been if I had taken a serious interest and kept up with my lessons. I stopped playing as soon as they would let me and didn’t touch a piano again until I was 47 years old.
I understand that there are a lot of benefits associated with learning to play the piano. Not only does it benefit the mind but it can have a significant impact on a child’s education and their future career aspects. I knew that I wanted my daughter to learn to play the instrument, but I didn’t want her to hate practicing piano like I did.
That’s when I decided I would do my best to make piano practice with her a fun experience. One that she would look forward to when the time came.
How To Add Fun To Your Piano Practice
It’s been a few years now and I can safely say that she loves the piano. I tried many techniques that failed and found a few that really worked. These techniques aren’t guaranteed to work for everyone. But, I want to share with you how I make piano practice fun for my daughter.
The best part is that these techniques can work for adults as well.
1. Forget The Hours Long Lessons
Traditional, long piano lessons are a relic of the past that has been shown to actually harm productivity. Some teachers prefer lessons that are between 90 and 120 minutes. Then there are teachers who can push a lesson for several hours. Long ago, a particular student may have received lessons until it was nighttime and then awoke the next day to continue learning. All of these sessions are simply too long and tedious for the average kid.
A study has shown that adults work efficiently for roughly 1 hour and then productivity begins to diminish. That means you should set a maximum time limit of 1 hour for a lesson. However, 1 hour is still far too long for most kids. Depending on their age and interest, it’s best to start with lessons between 10 and 20 minutes. You can then gradually increase the length based on their interest.
Personally, our piano teacher began lessons with my daughter that were a total of 30 minutes with frequent small breaks. He would move on to another activity as soon as he noticed she wasn’t interested or having fun.
Over time, the piano held her interest for longer and longer. Our lessons are now typically around 45 minutes to an hour unless she is practicing for something important.
2. Incorporate Games
My mother would have scowled at me if I had asked to play a game on the piano while practicing. Luckily, we don’t have to use the same boring methods that our parents used. The reality is that kids love to play games. Games are fun and if you want piano practice to be fun, then you need to incorporate games.
There’s a misconception that learning and playing games are mutually exclusive activities. But a fun activity with specific rules, educational value, and some reward is a great combination of these two ideas. Schools are already using games as teaching tools in many different classes. It’s time to start using them for piano lessons as well.
Games don’t need to be complicated to be fun. If you’re like me and lack the creative genius needed to create your own games, then you can turn to the internet. There are plenty of piano-oriented games you can find online or you can adjust various other games to work with a piano.
3. Learn Popular Songs
Most kids these days aren’t listening to Mozart or Beethoven on a daily basis. They are listening to Adele, Ariana Grande, or whoever else is playing on the radio at the moment. These are the popular songs that they are interested in and they would often prefer to play them instead of the classics. There’s no denying that the classics have their place, but they aren’t usually fun or relevant. You might find that your kid is a bit reluctant to spend hours learning a song they don’t even like.
Meanwhile, if you begin teaching them a popular song that they are interested in, they’ll have more fun learning and feel more motivated. They will be eager to master the song so that they can show off their own rendition of “Rolling in the Deep”.
This same idea applies to adults as well. I began to gain a new interest in playing the piano as I studied popular songs with my daughter. The thought of being able to play a well-known song at a wedding or party was exciting. I could play them an hour of Mozart without anyone knowing the name of a single composition. But within the first few seconds of an Michael Buble song, everyone has recognized the music and is paying attention.
Most modern songs don’t contain a lot of piano music. Converting these songs can also be a fun and engaging challenge. But if you’re not up to it, then you can always search online for piano covers. There are already so many great piano players around the world and many of them spend time creating covers for popular songs. They often include sheet music and tutorials as well.
Find What Works For You
Obviously, no two kids are entirely the same. Your kid may absolutely love playing Beethoven or they may prefer to study for hours on end. Finding a way to make piano fun and appealing will require understanding what your kid really enjoys. The above techniques are what worked for me and my daughter. They can also be easily adjusted and improved.
Communication is also a great tool to use. Find out if your kid is having fun as they learn to play the piano. If not, then maybe they have some ideas of their own to spruce up the practice. A kid who is having fun is more likely to stick with the practice and improve over time.