Supporting young student

Posted by: Cardinal201

Supporting young student - 04/18/14 08:01 PM

I've been struggling of late with how best to support my child in his piano studies... He's been taking lessons for a year and a half, and in the first year, I was able to also learn along with him and even keep a step or two ahead. I would receive guidance from his teacher to help him practice, and I honestly felt that I was helping my child progress.

He started with a new teacher in the fall, and very quickly began outpacing my ability to keep up. As was the case with his old teacher, I receive guidance from his current teacher on ways to help him practice at home, but now I worry whether I'm more hindrance than help. There have been several instances in which I tried to follow the teacher's instructions and encouraged my son to practice a certain way, only to later discover that I misunderstood what the teacher wanted and then the poor kid has to unlearn whatever I told him.

As he is still only 6, my child is not quite independent enough to practice completely on his own. He loves to play the piano, and I make it a point to sit with him as much as possible and be his greatest cheerleader. However, I sense that he is getting a bit frustrated with my musical limitations, and doesn't understand why I am not like his piano teacher, whom he clearly admires and respects.

Any suggestions as to how I can better support my child would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance!
Posted by: chasingrainbows

Re: Supporting young student - 04/18/14 08:48 PM

Do you sit in on his lessons? With children ages 5 and 6, I encourage one parent to sit in on lessons (quietly, of course) and observe. I always review new concepts and practice suggestions at the end of the lesson. After a few months, parents usually stop sitting in. Are you able to email the teacher with questions about your son's assignments? I encourage parents to do so if the student/parent is unsure of the assignment (although they all have assignment books).
Posted by: Brinestone

Re: Supporting young student - 04/18/14 08:50 PM

Do you sit in on his lessons? I have a few very involved parents who actually pull a chair up to the piano to watch their kids' lessons so they can help them practice despite knowing little to nothing about piano themselves. I also make detailed notes in a notebook and talk about what I'm writing with both student and parent. It takes a few moments, but it's worth it in avoiding unteaching of bad habits.
Posted by: chasingrainbows

Re: Supporting young student - 04/18/14 08:53 PM

I should also add that, as a former piano student in college, there were times I was frustrated or forgot something taught in class/lessons (certainly, in the math/science subjects!) At the next class/lesson, those questions would be addressed. At some point, parents cannot be expected to be fully knowledgeable about every subject a student is studying, and have to surrender to the teacher.
Posted by: AZNpiano

Re: Supporting young student - 04/18/14 09:11 PM

Ask the teacher for permission to record the lessons with an iPad.

If you're not the primary student taking the lesson, sooner or later your son is going to outpace you. It's a matter of time.
Posted by: hreichgott

Re: Supporting young student - 04/18/14 09:12 PM

Originally Posted By: Cardinal201
I make it a point to sit with him as much as possible and be his greatest cheerleader. However, I sense that he is getting a bit frustrated with my musical limitations, and doesn't understand why I am not like his piano teacher, whom he clearly admires and respects.

This is a normal part of the process. Congratulations on your child's progress smile

Practice after the lesson, on the same day as the lesson, is the best way to translate the teacher's suggestions into practice for the week. Perhaps your son can explain to you what the teacher asked for, then you can reinforce it during the week. As time goes by you will be more in charge of enforcing THAT he practices, and can tell you what he is improving about the piece from one day to the next, and not so much in charge of the specific tasks/goals.
Posted by: Cardinal201

Re: Supporting young student - 04/18/14 09:39 PM

chasingrainbows and Brinestone, thank you for your quick replies! I sit in on every lesson and take as detailed notes as I can. However, the teacher's instructions are often quite subtle (to the musically uneducated such as myself, anyway), e.g. rounding my son's palm a hair or placing his fingertip just so. It is easy to go a bit too far when making corrections during practice sessions at home and consequently doing something wrong on the other end of the spectrum. The teacher is extremely focused on proper technique, and it's difficult for me to help my son get it "just right", especially when his assignments are beyond my capability to play. I do understand that, as chasingrainbows writes, "At some point, parents cannot be expected to be fully knowledgable about every subject a student is studying"; however, I just didn't expect that time to be so soon. He's only 6!
Posted by: Cardinal201

Re: Supporting young student - 04/18/14 09:52 PM

AZNpiano and hreichgott, thank you both, as well! Unfortunately, the teacher does not allow lessons to be recorded. My son does practice after his weekly lesson--I will encourage him to reflect on and translate his teacher's instructions into a very specific practice plan for the week. At what age or after how much time are young students typically able to correctly practice independently?
Posted by: Candywoman

Re: Supporting young student - 04/19/14 01:23 AM

Well, just so you have an opposite view, I'll state how I, a piano teacher, see it. To me, the approach of the parent trying to reinforce concepts from the lesson takes the fun right out of the whole process. The teacher should do such a good job in the lesson in terms of corrections that all that remains is for the young student (6-8 years I'm talking) to simply repeat the piece many times and explore on the piano. The teacher can make some things more clear by writing in their book, but oral reinforcement should be enough in most cases.

The parent can help by ensuring the child practices regularly and for a reasonable amount of time (twice per day for 10 minutes each time for this age group); by creating a peaceful environment that facilitates practice (let your child get bored sometimes so they look to the piano for stimulation); by sitting and listening in the same room or nearby as you clean the kitchen for instance; by taking them to musical events and recitals; by playing classical piano music in the car; and by complimenting their playing.

The most important thing you do may be lying on the couch listening to piano music on cds or radio and thoroughly enjoying it. If your child interrupts, try indicating you're getting to the best part and can't be disturbed. This speaks more to a child than running after them with a feather duster getting them to practice.

Posted by: Morodiene

Re: Supporting young student - 04/19/14 08:07 AM

Originally Posted By: Candywoman
Well, just so you have an opposite view, I'll state how I, a piano teacher, see it. To me, the approach of the parent trying to reinforce concepts from the lesson takes the fun right out of the whole process. The teacher should do such a good job in the lesson in terms of corrections that all that remains is for the young student (6-8 years I'm talking) to simply repeat the piece many times and explore on the piano. The teacher can make some things more clear by writing in their book, but oral reinforcement should be enough in most cases.

The parent can help by ensuring the child practices regularly and for a reasonable amount of time (twice per day for 10 minutes each time for this age group); by creating a peaceful environment that facilitates practice (let your child get bored sometimes so they look to the piano for stimulation); by sitting and listening in the same room or nearby as you clean the kitchen for instance; by taking them to musical events and recitals; by playing classical piano music in the car; and by complimenting their playing.

The most important thing you do may be lying on the couch listening to piano music on cds or radio and thoroughly enjoying it. If your child interrupts, try indicating you're getting to the best part and can't be disturbed. This speaks more to a child than running after them with a feather duster getting them to practice.



+1

I feel you may be too involved in the process. You are right, you don't know the subtleties that the teacher is trying to work on, so you should not address technique at all. Leave that for the teacher to deal with. Tell her that you feel you cannot be in charge of that during the week, and to let you know if she specifically wants you to watch out for anything, but I'm guessing she won't.

Just read his assignments to him and makes sure he does it. Whether or not he is successful with them is up to the teacher to explain it better next time.
Posted by: jdw

Re: Supporting young student - 04/19/14 08:33 AM

Another point, I think, is that problems of over-correcting or not quite understanding all the teacher's instructions on technique are very common for all piano students (I say this as student, not teacher). I think he will have those issues and need for followup corrections whether you're part of the equation or not. But he will learn more from them if he doesn't have you to "blame." So I agree with those who suggest stepping back to a supporting role rather than being more involved.
Posted by: Cardinal201

Re: Supporting young student - 04/19/14 11:47 AM

Candywoman, Morodienne, and jdw, yes, I think I may be too involved! But the teacher asks that I practice with my child. She nods sympathetically when I apologize for not being more competent in this regard, but still continues to specifically ask me to work on technique with him. Is it possible she regards my good-faith attempts to follow her wishes as the lesser of two evils vs. my son practicing on his own at this point?

I love Candywoman's suggestions on how to support my child's musical development away from the piano bench. I do many of these things already, but have never tried the tip in her last paragraph. Just to be clear, however, I do not need to force my child to practice. Practicing the piano may not be as fun as just playing the piano, but the kiddo actually does understand that practice helps his playing, and that it is a necessary means to an end of his own choosing (not mine). It's just a little hard for him to practice exactly the way his teacher instructs him--for which I can't blame him as I the adult also have trouble with this! It is a relief to hear, via jdw, that over-corrections and misunderstandings are common, and not something unique to either my son or myself.
Posted by: PianoStudent88

Re: Supporting young student - 04/19/14 02:53 PM

She nods sympathetically? How nice of her [not nice, actually: sorry, I forgot sarcasm doesn't come through on the Internet well]. Putting guilt on the parent for, guess what, the parent not being a trained pianist and piano teacher. I call it "putting guilt" because the sympathetic nod is confirming that Cardinal is doing something she (Cardinal) should feel bad about.

Wouldn't it be nice if instead she could say "You're doing great. Thank you for your support. You're doing everything I would want a parent to do. Here's one thing you might try as a tweak to what you're doing; I think that might make this practicing help feel even better for both you and your son."

[ETA: Morodiene, Candywoman et al sound like they're right on the money.]

[2ETA: of course, I only have Cardinal's interpretation to go on. In fairness to teachers everywhere, and to Cardinal Jr's teacher in particular, I'll spend time thinking about all the ways this might appear from the teacher's POV.]
Posted by: malkin

Re: Supporting young student - 04/19/14 03:55 PM

At some point you might consider hiring one of the teacher's more advanced students as a practice helper for your son.
Posted by: keystring

Re: Supporting young student - 04/19/14 07:35 PM

I remember a bit about what preceded this. Your child had a teacher who wanted him to "step up" as it were to another teacher. That new teacher assigned pieces over the summer which the student had to tackle on his own, and you as parent tried to help, without being a pianist yourself at a time when there were no lessons. A bit later you wrote in that your son was practising about 1 1/2 hours/day to be able to be up on the material that had been assigned.

From what you are saying, this teacher wants you to help your son with his practising at home. But for that to happen, you also have to be guided in how to help. It is not enough to know that he's been told to shape his hand a certain way or move his fingers in a particular matter like you described. That probably isn't what you as a parent should be guiding in the first place. So what is it that you are supposed to be doing? That's where the guidance comes in, if that teacher knows how to give that guidance.

Perhaps the teachers here could give examples of how they guide the parents of their students in how they will be helping to practise at home.
Posted by: The Monkeys

Re: Supporting young student - 04/20/14 02:16 AM

If you can share, what pieces are he on?
Posted by: AZNpiano

Re: Supporting young student - 04/20/14 11:45 PM

Originally Posted By: malkin
At some point you might consider hiring one of the teacher's more advanced students as a practice helper for your son.

I second that.

(Wait, didn't I suggest that in a previous thread? I do that with my students.)
Posted by: Cardinal201

Re: Supporting young student - 04/21/14 02:32 PM

Originally Posted By: keystring
Perhaps the teachers here could give examples of how they guide the parents of their students in how they will be helping to practise at home.


I would very much appreciate this.

PianoStudent88, please don't think I am complaining about my child's teacher. I am incredibly grateful for her even to have accepted him into her studio, and quite pleased with his progress under her tutelage. Any guilt I feel regarding my musical deficiencies is entirely my own.

malkin and AZNpiano, I think it would be difficult to engage one of the teacher's more advanced students as a practice helper. Out of the 18 or so members of the studio, my kiddo is the least serious--his 1.5 hours or so of virtually daily practice is exceeded by every other student, some of whom are even homeschooled so as to be able to devote more time to the piano. I don't believe any would be able to carve out the time to be a practice helper. On the other hand, your suggestion gives me another idea--rather than our current 1 lesson of 45 minutes per week, perhaps I could ask the teacher for 2 lessons of 30 minutes per week. The incremental cost wouldn't be too much more, and less time in-between lessons would mean less time for bad habits to form. What do you think?

TheMonkeys, my son is currently playing from Tchaikovsky's Op. 39, Burgmuller's Op. 100, Schumann's Op. 68, Clementi's Op. 36, and the Notebook for Anna Magdalena Bach. He is also working through Czerny-Germer's Selected Piano Studies. I believe you are a fellow parent--do you have any advice for me in helping support a young child in his piano studies?
Posted by: The Monkeys

Re: Supporting young student - 04/21/14 07:19 PM

I didn't have a 6 year old at that playing level, so I don't think I can offer much for your specific situation.

I stopped attempting to help my boy with techniques all together when he enter the intermediate range, as I found that counter productive in many ways. However, I did listen to his practice and help him to manage the practice, what I heard myself saying the most are like:
-- break up the passage, it is too long to be effective.
-- this section sounded fine to me, spend more time in the next section.
-- shhhhhhhhh, softer, wasn't that pp?
-- slow down please
-- you need to use metronome for this section.

Every now and then, I collect a piece played by different level of players, also a recording of his own, and listen together with him, compare the different versions. I found that sometimes helped almost magically.

But the above is how I am dealing with a 9 year old at the immediate range, not 6 a year old. My 6 year old is still at the early stage, which is an entirely different matter.

Also, we are far less serious, I am not losing sleeping on the shape of their palms.

Posted by: landorrano

Re: Supporting young student - 04/22/14 10:22 AM

Hi Cardinal. I get the impression from your posts that you have happened upon a quite wonderful teacher for your boy. From afar obviously, she sounds very human, very kind. That she insists on your close involvement, I interpret from that point of view. She sees a 6 year-old boy, who has come to the piano through his mother (I suppose that you are his mother, not his father!) and who needs his mother close to him. She knows perfectly what your limits are and I am quite sure that she doesn't expect you to round your son's palm to match a perfect image of what she did during the lesson. But she feels that her little pupil is ... well he's a little pupil and needs his mom, she isn't trying to push him out of the nest.

The fact that she doesn't accept that you tape the lessons, that too I see as very positive. She wants you (you and your son) to listen, to watch, to try to understand. I would suggest that the day after each lesson you take a moment with your son to think back over the lesson, and write down the things that seem important. You will be more attentive to the spirit of what she teaches, and less to the letter which, in any case, you cannot duplicate no matter how hard you try!

One last little thing, concerning your comment:
Originally Posted By: Cardinal201
I sense that he is getting a bit frustrated with my musical limitations, and doesn't understand why I am not like his piano teacher.



It is normal that he is quickly depassing you on the piano. But don't forget that above all, above all other things, you are his mother and he is only 6 years-old. Learning to respect his mother is more important than the piano, and that is something that only you can teach him.
Posted by: AZNpiano

Re: Supporting young student - 04/22/14 02:38 PM

Originally Posted By: Cardinal201
my son is currently playing from Tchaikovsky's Op. 39, Burgmuller's Op. 100, Schumann's Op. 68, Clementi's Op. 36, and the Notebook for Anna Magdalena Bach. He is also working through Czerny-Germer's Selected Piano Studies.

Just to be nit-picky a little...

The Czerny-Germer tome is something I'd never use. It's truly a collection of "the worst of the worst" studies. Some very questionable fingering and repertoire choices in that book. I once had a transfer student who came to me with it, and I had to teach from that awful book because his mother was brainwashed into thinking every good pianist learned Czerny exercises every week.

Clementi Op. 36 is popular with older beginners. It is not appropriate for children with small hands. There are octave stretches everywhere.
Posted by: Cardinal201

Re: Supporting young student - 04/22/14 06:17 PM

AZNpiano, agreed about the Clementi! My son's teacher writes in adjustments for my son (e.g. separating the notes in octave passages rather than playing legato), but then you lose the intended feel of the piece. I much prefer the other repertoire he is learning. I have no particular view on the Czerny-Germer as I have no alternative point of comparison. What etudes do you prefer to teach?

The Monkeys, thank you for sharing your experience. landorrano, I appreciate your perspective, as well. It's all very helpful!
Posted by: EFmusic

Re: Supporting young student - 04/23/14 02:32 PM

I'm sure there are many helpful tips in here, so many I don't have time to read them all (lol), but this is a common concern for many involved parents. smile So common in fact, I dedicated a page on my website specifically helping PARENT with their kids piano lessons.
You can browse the topics, because some are just for the kids, and then some are basics for parents. Here is the section for online music lessons to help PARENTS learn! smile

[url=http://www.elizabethfarrellmusic.com/online-music-courses-lessons-tips/parent-resources][/url] http://www.elizabethfarrellmusic.com/online-music-courses-lessons-tips/parent-resources
Posted by: Cardinal201

Re: Supporting young student - 05/03/14 09:59 PM

Update: I really think I am doing something wrong, because my child's playing appears to be worsening the more he practices. For example, two months ago he started learning his pieces for his teacher's end of year recital, had the basics (notes, rhythm, dynamics) down and memorized within two weeks, and then spent the last month and a half polishing and developing the musicality of the pieces (in addition to learning several études and other pieces that he won't be performing). Unfortunately, my son's playing of the recital pieces seemed to have peaked several weeks ago and then started to regress! I feel incredibly helpless, as my son has been working really hard and yet it's actually been counterproductive. The teacher would give him corrections, which I would help him apply at home, only to then have something else (usually very basic) go to pot. The recital was this afternoon, and the little guy had several unclean staccato jumps in one of his pieces--something that just came up in the last few days of practice but had never been an issue beforehand. He put up a good front, but I know he was frustrated with his performance, as he has been at practice lately as well.

I'm scared the kiddo is burnt out--that my acting as practice helper, even though it was at the teacher's bidding, has put him under too much pressure. I feel awful, just completely inadequate.
Posted by: hreichgott

Re: Supporting young student - 05/03/14 10:20 PM

I'm sure a couple of blurred jumps didn't spoil the performance. In fact I recently heard a broadcast of Perahia playing the Schumann concerto with the BSO and he blurred a couple octaves in the final cascade. It did not by any means make it a bad performance. Things happen when performing.

6-year-olds go through peaks and valleys, don't worry, just keep praising and cheering for what he is legitimately doing well. (For starters, how about some things that legitimately went well about the recital piece...)
Posted by: Cardinal201

Re: Supporting young student - 05/03/14 11:37 PM

Ok, I just reviewed videos of the recital today as well as of a casual performance of the same pieces for friends from a month ago, and realize I may have overreacted. From the videos, my son clearly played more dynamically and musically today than he did a month ago. He did play somewhat cleaner last month, but wasn't perfect either. I think perhaps at the time he and I both were just more easily impressed with his playing since the pieces were more new/unfamiliar, and therefore I was remembering the past performance with bias. In any case, hreichgott, I really appreciate your kind words. I will definitely continue to praise and cheer my child for what he is legitimately doing well.
Posted by: hreichgott

Re: Supporting young student - 05/04/14 10:44 PM

Glad to hear it and congratulations on his continued progress smile
Posted by: The Monkeys

Re: Supporting young student - 05/05/14 01:14 AM

If one day your boy have a girl friend that you don't like, the best way to break them up is to suggest your boy to teach her piano:-)

Joking aside, many pianists/piano teachers don't teach their own child, for good reasons. When the relationship is too close, it is hard to be objective.

When you say you are frustrated because you are unable to help, ask yourself if you are actually frustrated because he didn't meet your expectation. If a few unclean staccatos can make such an emotional stress on you, life ahead, for both you and your boy, could be long and bumpy, just let it go.

You seem to be an honest and open person, trying to do the best. But remember, progress is never a straight line, it is always spiral, with up and downs. As a parent, you job is to provide the space and time for the organic growth.

Congratulations for yet another recital and hope you enjoyed the journey more than the result.
Posted by: ShiverMeTimbres

Re: Supporting young student - 05/05/14 06:10 AM

1.5 hrs a day at 6 years old..... blows my mind.
Posted by: Cardinal201

Re: Supporting young student - 05/05/14 12:19 PM

The Monkeys, in this case, it was not the unclean jumps in and of themselves that caused my stress but the fear of what those unclean jumps, an issue which only arose in the week before the recital, might mean (i.e. that my lack of qualification as practice helper has caused confusion/created stress for my child, which then manifested in the past month in various ways including this last). And while I felt helplessness and guilt, it was my son that felt the frustration. Relative to most 6 year olds, he's fairly dedicated to the piano. Thank you, however, for the reminder to continue examining my motivations. It is good advice for all us parents!
Posted by: Saranoya

Re: Supporting young student - 05/05/14 01:24 PM

Cardinal201,

You seem anxious about your skills as a practice helper and their impact (or lack thereof) to a degree that strikes me as unhealthy for you, and quite possibly unhealthy for your son as well.

Have you ever tried to just back off for a week? And I don't mean forget about supporting your son in his piano practice altogether. I mean remind him: now's your daily practice time. Listen from afar while you do the dishes (or something of that nature). If you hear him goofing off, let him do that for a while, and then remind him what he was working on, if you absolutely must wink. Make sure he knows you'll be nearby to answer questions if he has any; but when he asks you about something you don't know, just say "that's a great question. Why don't we write it down so you can ask your teacher at the next lesson?" Then pat him on the back for a job well done, and call it good.

What would be the worst that could happen, in this scenario? If indeed he isn't quite ready to practice independently, then ... well, he'll be goofing around a lot. Who knows what kind of awesome improvisations might come of it? And if none do, that'll be fine, too!
Practice sessions will be less efficient when you're not there every minute. But really, at the age of six, where's the harm in that? It's not like he needs to juggle piano with six other kinds of homework, and/or a full-time job, and/or a crying baby, and/or a carpet that needs urgent cleaning, right?

I am saying this not as a piano teacher nor as a parent, but as a clinical psychologist (by training if not currently by profession), and as a cub scout leader, and as a student currently undergoing teacher training. Most of all, though, I'm saying it as one who was forced to learn violin at the age of five, with a grandmother who had the best of intentions, but was looking over my shoulder almost constantly.

The moral of that little story is not that I was force-fed musical instruction as a child, and therefore I am now bitter and unable to muster a passion for music. In fact, the opposite is true: if I have been a life-long music lover, it is in no small part thanks to the influence of my grandmother. What I am saying, though, is that her constant hovering put me under pressure to excel at all times, which I could not. Nobody can. I'm sure my grandmother didn't consciously *want* to instil in me a strong fear of failure, but that is what she did (she wasn't the only one responsible, but that's too long a story to be told, here). In any case, being subjected to this kind of pressure at such a young age (while inevitably falling short of my own and other people's expectations now and then) did quite a number on my self-esteem and, more importantly, my willingness to take a risk once in a while. It took me two decades to learn that it's OK not to be perfect all the time.

I'm positive that I never was, and never will be as talented as your son appears to be. But the fact that he *is* that talented should be self-reinforcing. If he enjoys playing and is good at it, he doesn't *really* need his mother to sit next to him during practice and help him use every minute of practice as efficiently as possible. He'll practice because he likes to practice, and as time goes on, he'll figure out quicker ways to get where he's going on his own, or with pointers from his teacher who, unlike you, supposedly knows exactly how to guide him in the right direction.

I think that if every teacher here could be certain that every parent who brings a child to their studio will provide even half of the support you give your son, they'd all be ecstatic. But for your own good and that of your child, I say: consider dialling it down a bit!
Posted by: The Monkeys

Re: Supporting young student - 05/05/14 02:20 PM

Originally Posted By: Cardinal201
And while I felt helplessness and guilt, it was my son that felt the frustration.


I am delighted to see that your concern was not over the technical flaw itself, but the frustration of your boy.

What a child can do at 6 tells little about who he will become at later life. But the emotional wellness at the young age could have a life long impact.

Stress and frustration comes from the pressure of meeting expectations. They can not be resolved by technical advancement, because it will be always an imperfections, then the next, always a more advanced piece, then the next.

Stress and frustration can only be resolved by managing pressures. Before he can handle the pressure well by himself, as a parent, I will pay far more attention on finding out where the pressure came from, and fend it off.
Posted by: PianoStudent88

Re: Supporting young student - 05/05/14 02:31 PM

Cardinal201, Saranoya has said much better, and with more expertise, something that I have been thinking about how to suggest for quite a while now, but without being able to figure out the words for it.

Is this guilt coming from expectations that you think your son's teacher is imposing, or is it coming from within yourself? Your son's teacher, if she's good, should be giving you ideas about encouraging and supporting your son that leave both you and your son feeling good, not miserable and helpless.

You should not have to feel guilty that the teacher's other students practice more than your son. He's practicing an incredible amount for almost any usual piano student, let alone for a six-year-old in his second year of piano study.

You should not have to feel beholden to this teacher and feel incredibly lucky that your son is in her studio, when neither you nor your son wanted to switch to this teacher to start with, and were only coerced into it because the previous teacher refused to continue teaching your son because she thought she wasn't advanced enough to teach him.

I would wish for you a local community of healthy and happy piano parents and piano students, who could model for you reasonable and happy ways of fostering their children's musical progress. It is possible that none of the parents and students in your son's current teacher's studio may be right for modeling this.
Posted by: PianoStudent88

Re: Supporting young student - 05/05/14 02:34 PM

Originally Posted By: The Monkeys
Stress and frustration can only be resolved by managing pressures. Before he can handle the pressure well by himself, as a parent, I will pay far more attention on finding out where the pressure came from, and fend it off.

And this applies not only to her son, but also to Cardinal201, who is feeling great pressure, and I hope will find ways to fend it off. It's like oxygen masks: help yourself, then you will be able to help your child.
Posted by: AZNpiano

Re: Supporting young student - 05/05/14 04:20 PM

Originally Posted By: The Monkeys
Stress and frustration comes from the pressure of meeting expectations. They can not be resolved by technical advancement, because it will be always an imperfections, then the next, always a more advanced piece, then the next.

I agree with this, and I want to add that age must be added to the parent's consideration.

There are plenty of child geniuses whose mental capacity far exceeds their physical development. In the case of piano, a lot of physical development issues will prevent a 6-year-old boy from playing any intermediate repertoire well: evenness of 16th notes, internalization of pulse, subdivision of beats (triplets vs. 16th notes), stretching for intervals larger than a 7th, sharp staccatos, etc.
Posted by: Cardinal201

Re: Supporting young student - 05/09/14 01:04 PM

Thank you all for your thoughtful responses. I hear you--my little guy and myself both need to give ourselves a break!
Posted by: ezpiano.org

Re: Supporting young student - 05/09/14 04:46 PM

Quote:
But the fact that he *is* that talented should be self-reinforcing. If he enjoys playing and is good at it, he doesn't *really* need his mother to sit next to him during practice and help him use every minute of practice as efficiently as possible. He'll practice because he likes to practice, and as time goes on, he'll figure out quicker ways to get where he's going on his own, or with pointers from his teacher who, unlike you, supposedly knows exactly how to guide him in the right direction.


I have to say that I re-read this passage more than ten times and am totally agree with it.