How can we make piano lessons for kids fun?

September 9, 2021

Music Lessons in NYC - Uncategorized


Are you worried that piano lessons will feel boring for your kids?

If you are a parent of a child who can play a musical instrument, then you know the wonderful feeling of joy and pride you feel for your child when they play. Getting to a point of being able to play a musical piece, and play it well is not a short journey. It takes determination, it takes practice, and – most importantly – it takes music lessons.

It is possible to learn some super simple songs on your own but getting to the level of playing something actually good requires professional guidance. This is where some parents and children get worried that the formal training will interfere with the free artistic expression and make the music making process dull and stale.

This is where we as a music school want to tell you that learning to play a musical instrument doesn’t have to be boring. It is actually the opposite! The longer you take music lessons, the more they become significantly more fun and exciting!

“Fun” and “Learning” are not opposites!

Before we talk specifically about HOW we can make piano lessons fun for kids, imagine a hypothetical scenario. Your very young child sees a colorful picture book, loves the pictures, and asks you to read it, which of course you do. This is a joyful experience for everyone involved. So joyful that you do it again and again! Your child is learning words, colors, shapes, animals, and more! Reading together is FUN!

Now, let’s imagine that for some inexplicable reason, your child never moves forward and is never taught how to read by themselves. They can still listen to the stories read by someone else, but cannot read any books on their own. While a bit exaggerated, this scenario would be terrible for the child. As they became older, the fun of reading a great book independently would be lost.

Is it hard to learn to read? It sure is at first! It’s not fun the ENTIRE time. Children learning how to read have to sound out words, and make many mistakes.  With effort, literally every child is able to learn to read if they keep trying. Learning to read becomes fun as the stories are able to unfold right in front of a child’s eyes as they command the language on their own.

How do we learn to read? In school and from our parents – but not on our own, correct? Same with playing an instrument where we need to learn how to read the notes, rhythm, dynamics, and other basics in order to move forward. How can we learn that? If the parent is a musician who knows all that, then great, but in most cases we learn it from a music teacher. 

Playing music is, of course, is a much narrower and more “special” skill than reading. The basic principles remain the same: it’s necessary to learn the basics in order to move forward. Without the basics being taught in music lessons, students are left stranded on the same level because they don’t have the tools to move forward.

Without someone (like a teacher or parent) to teach a child how to work through the learning process diligently, the fun part simply cannot happen!

But – Can music lessons themselves be fun?

We have talked about how the true joy of playing a musical instrument cannot be achieved without proper work, but can the work itself be interesting? Can we make piano lessons fun for kids? The answer is YES.  Piano lessons can be very engaging and entertaining for children as long as they are taught by the right instructor. 

Let’s be honest. Note reading, music theory, proper technique are all things that feel challenging at first; but  this is the 21st century, people! The world of education (at least its progressive branch) has come to the understanding that students produce the best results if they are interested in learning themselves. A good classroom teacher will know how to make their class engaging.  A good sports coach will make the kids want to win competitions. And a great piano teacher will help guide their students to musical experiences and content that interests the student!

There are many ways to make learning music fun. At Riverside Music Studios, we use a set of activities for learning piano, for example, that we call “Piano Games.” Our young students adore the games they play with their piano teacher, often not even realizing  that they are learning the “boring” basics  because they’re having so much fun!

Children are all very different in their learning habits. A friendly and open minded approach to children is very important quality for a good music teacher. Much of this quality comes from experience, but there has to be an initial ability or even an innate ability to be able to connect with each child and make them feel excited. 

Finally, fun comes naturally when a student can do something new which they previously couldn’t do. You couldn’t play your favorite Coldplay song, and after the teacher taught it to you at the piano lesson, you can! Trust us, it feels really amazing and makes you want to play more and more!

How can you motivate your child to practice piano at home?

Perhaps the most challenging aspect of learning to play a musical instrument for music students of all ages is becoming motivated to practice. A good music teacher will make the learning fun during the lesson, but at home, it can be more difficult to achieve the same level of positivity!

 You can’t skip the home practicing part unfortunately. Without it, the learning process slows down by ten fold. Maybe you will be the one in a thousand lucky parent whose child will always run to a piano to practice at home?

And if not, you will have to help your child with it. How? 

  • Sit at some lessons to understand what your child is learning. With the very basics of music, it will not be rocket science for you. Your child will love you even more for helping them with their music homework. 
  • Make music practicing a weekly routine: schedule 2-3 times a week when your child is consistently available for practicing and make it a “no choice” chore.
  • Ask your child to play what they learned soon after the lesson and praise them for their new cool skills. It’s a good trick to make the child not forget what they learned and they will be also happy to show off to you.
  • Bribe them if needed. A little extra cartoon or video game time always does the trick!

Can learning to play piano be fun for kids? In modern life it somewhat HAS to be fun. If it’s not, then consider choosing a different music teacher and try other tips above.

Remember, with music, just with anything else that we learn in life, it is always possible to make the process engaging and fun!

Unless it’s math, of course, but we don’t teach math at Riverside Music Studios – just piano, violin, flute, voice, and guitar lessons in NYC!

 



To sign up for music lessons in NYC or to contact us with any questions please use this form:

(212) 247-4900
Riverside Music Studios
1727 Broadway, Suite 2
New York, New York 10019