How to make the most of your child’s online piano lessons
You have talked to your child and together, you have decided that online piano lessons are the right way to go. That’s great! Playing the piano has a lot of benefits for children. Many parents are choosing online music lessons as a complement for homeschooling programs. This is because learning music makes children more patient, more attentive, better tolerant of frustrations, and more creative.
In this article, we will give you the best tips for learning the piano online. We suppose you already have the instrument at home (here are suggestions if you need to purchase a keyboard for a child). If you are still looking for a music instructor, it is simple to sign up in Nabi Music and request one for your child or yourself. But let’s just assume you have just done all that, and you have already scheduled your trial lesson. How to make sure your child gets the best out of this experience?
#1: Get comfortable with the technology first
By now, you probably are fully familiarized with video calls, home office and all, and so is your child. In any case, before the actual lessons start taking place, you should double-check that everything works fine: camera, mic, Internet connection… For instance, do you get a good Wi-Fi signal from where the piano is placed? If your child is already in school, by now they are probably better at handling Zoom calls than you or me! But if they are young, make sure they get some practice with video calls from family members, or friends, before their lessons.
And in any case, talk to your child about how sometimes an Internet connection can go down, delays may happen, a microphone can get suddenly unplugged, etc. to avoid frustrations as much as humanly possible.
#2: Make things easier to the music tutor
When you contact the music instructor, tell them about your child. Is she patient or does she find it hard to remain sitting down for longer than 5 minutes? Is she good at following directions? Is she shy, or rather extrovert? All these facts may come in handy for the music instructor when planning the first lessons.
Try to make the online lesson as appealing as possible to your child! You may hang up music posters, decorations, etc. to turn their place into a virtual classroom. And make sure the tutor has good visibility as well. If you are using a wireless camera, try finding the best possible angle for the lesson. Speaking of which, it is a good idea to have two different devices: one for the tutor to see your child’s face and speak to him or her, and another to focus on their little hands on the keyboard.
#3: Consider your child’s routine
When you are scheduling the music lesson, take into account the daily habits of your child. Of course, you would never schedule a piano lesson at the same time she is having lunch or having another online class with her friends. But scheduling immediately after her naptime may also be a bad idea since she could be too grumpy to get excited about playing the piano. Also, try not to schedule the music lesson at the same time she watches her favorite TV show (although streaming services help with this problem!).
#4: Think about the child’s attention span
How much should the lesson last? This is one of the first questions you need to answer when scheduling the first trial music lesson. And it is not a minor question. When it comes to piano lessons rates, most teachers charge proportionally lower rates for longer lessons –meaning that one 60-minute long lesson is usually cheaper than two 30-minute long lessons. But that’s not important: what matters the most is for how long your child will sit in front of the instrument before getting tired, or bored. If you are in doubt, start by scheduling brief 30-minute lessons, and consider expanding them to longer periods if they seem too short for your kid.
#5: Be present (but leave them their space)
When the time comes for your kid to sit in front of the keyboard and listen to their new teacher, you should definitely stay nearby, in case there is a problem with the sound or the video quality. Of course, you also want to supervise the interaction an adult tutor has with your child, especially if you never met them in person (although we highly recommend having a first parent-teacher interview before the actual first music lesson).
At the same time, once that the child is comfortable with her new music teacher and is enjoying herself as her little fingers strike the black and white keys, try to stay a little behind and not interfere. After all, this is about your kid, not about you. If they feel you are observing them, they may feel shy, judged, or get distracted. It is their personal time. Stay nearby if they need you, but otherwise leave them their much-needed space.
#6: Praise them wisely!
Ok, so the online piano lesson is over. Now what? Start by congratulating your child for their effort and dedication. If they feel they are done with the piano for the day, that’s ok. But encourage them to practice a little every day. Regular practice is the best way to make real progress when learning any musical instrument.
When you hear them play, remember that congratulating the child is important, but you shouldn’t overdo it. You can’t say “you’re the best pianist ever!” without sounding fake. At the same time, if they are constantly playing a difficult passage and they still can’t get it right, try saying something such as “I admire your perseverance! Keep doing it and you’ll get it any day now!” That’s much better than just praising them for playing easy piano tunes they already know by heart. It’s vital that children feel their efforts are worth more than their results.