Six Innovative Ways to get Your Child to -- yech! --
Don't call it "practice." Practice
is what a lawyer or a doctor does and it usually costs you a lot
of money. "Play" is a better word to use. "Play"
is free and fun. Doesn't "Justin, did you play the piano
today?" sound better than "Justin, did you practice
the piano today?" Try using "play."
Don't have the piano in a quiet, remote spot of the
house. One of the best things about playing the piano is
that you can do it alone. One of the worst things about
playing the piano is that you have to be alone to do it. Keep the
piano close to a traffic area in the house so that the child doesn't
feel so isolated.
Don't be rigid about "playing" time.
What you want is quality, focused time at the piano, and that may
be in short bursts of attention, throughout the day. It's
not necessary to do all the day's playing in one 30-minute
session. It can be broken up.
Encourage the time after dinner and before bed for piano
enjoyment. Those are good, unwinding times for family playing,
listening, and sharing piano music.
Allow your child to play many types of music, even if you
don't like it. Every generation has its own sounds.
Appreciation of the classics sometimes takes a lifetime. If playing
the "best of Pearl Jam" (an oxymoron?) keeps him at
the piano, don't knock it.
As a last resort, start taking piano lessons yourself.
Ironically, when parents start piano lessons after their children
have refused to practice, the adults' playing attracts the
kids to the piano like butterflies to sassafras. Now they want to
play, just when it's your time to practice. So do it together!
Welcome to Pumping Ivory
Pumping Ivory is an attempt to help you sit
down at the piano and have fun. If it also nurtures your latent desire
to make beautiful sounds at the keyboard-that's all right,
We at PHRED PIANO EXPRESSION feel that most piano teaching
methods are hopelessly out-dated and BORING. Playing the piano is not
brain surgery. It is not public housing. That's serious stuff.
Playing the piano should be "cheerious" stuff. It should
be fun and easy and we hope Pumping Ivory will help make
Is It Ever Too Late For An Adult with Pianist Envy?
Never! Studies show that learning a new skill keeps the mind young
and vital, and holds the effects of aging at bay. So if you're
50, or even older, take heart. You could have more than 30 years of
piano enjoyment in store.
For most adults, pianist envy kicks in at the 40-something level. As
mid-life beckons, the kids need less attention, and the feeling of "now
or never" oozes from every pore. It's also a time when many
parents decide to take advantage of the piano that is sitting untouched
because it's been abandoned by the children.
There are, admittedly, downsides to beginning to learn to play later
in life. Adults will usually set more limitations on themselves than
younger people. Because of their life experience, they think they know
what they can and cannot do. Also, adults sometimes have a difficult
time adjusting their social calendar to allow practice time.
On the upside, adults more readily express the joy they feel when they
make music at the piano. They don't take it for granted. Noah Adams,
in his highly recommended book, Piano Lessons asks on
page one, "why does a 51-year-old man decide he has to have a
piano?" The answer, 248 delightful pages later is, "You
can be sitting there and play a phrase, and suddenly there's
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