Young Students

Children are often frustrated by music lessons that are overly academic and just feel like extra homework. My philosophy is that younger students should be given the space to explore and build a natural relationship with music rather than pushed along a strict timeline with inflexible milestones. I believe that parents can play an extremely important role in their child's education by taking a supportive, rather than domineering role and encouraging their freedom to explore.

Parental Involvement

A young students' support from their family is an essential part of their success, but my approach to parental involvement is somewhat unconventional. I highly discourage parents from managing their child's practice regimen, whether that be through scheduling practice time, setting time requirements, nagging, incentivizing with rewards, withholding other activities until practice is completed, etc. It is my position that aside from an occasional gentle reminder, parents should not push practicing on their children. This can be a very difficult philosophy for parents to accept, especially since a lot of kids flounder for a while before they find a good routine. While parents have the absolute best intentions by trying to get their children to practice more, the result is usually negative. Here are the reasons I discourage parents from being over-involved in practice routines:

  1. It prevents the child from developing their own discipline and motivation. Students need to learn that practice discipline is something they have to work to develop, not something their parents do for them.
  2. It binds the act of practicing piano to the parent-child relationship. If a child sees practicing as something their parents want them to do, then not practicing is a way to rebel when they're upset. It is important for me to develop a strong teacher-student relationship, so that I can communicate expectations directly without the interference of the ups and downs of other relationships.
  3. It makes music a chore. Over time, students tend to increase their practice as they build a relationship with their instrument and see their hard work pay off, but their interest is unlikely to blossom if they categorize practice with doing homework and cleaning their room.
  4. In the end, excessive parental interference doesn't even work. Practice doesn't happen in the fingers, it happens in the mind. A student can sit at the piano and run through everything they're "supposed to," but if their heart isn't in it, their mind won't be focused. If a child can't watch TV until they practice for 20 minutes, they will sit at the bench, "do their time," and learn virtually nothing.

I have spent many years working with new students to help them explore their musical curiosity, and in my experience, children are usually much more capable of developing their own discipline than adults expect, so long as they feel that their independence and maturity is respected. Interest in music can be encouraged, but attempting to force it almost always has the opposite effect.

I encourage parents to be highly involved in their child's musical education in other ways that make the student feel supported instead of lorded over, such as (if possible) showing up to lessons and being aware of what their child is working on, listening to piano music with their child, and offering positive feedback on their child's playing while letting me be the one to tell them what could be improved. It can make a world of difference for a parent to bring a book or laptop into the living room and simply be present while the child practices. The most successful young students are those whol feel supported and encouraged—rather than nagged and criticized—by their parents, and I work hard to help parents be a positive part of their children's learning experience.

Contact Me

(916) 960-6882

If you want to get in touch with me, you're welcome to call, text, or email me. You can also find me on Instagram (sort of, I'm extremely inactive), YouTube, Discord, and Itch. If you can't get ahold of me right away, I should be able to get back to you within 24 hours on weekdays.