2 Pitfalls to Avoid for New Learners!

playful beginnings Nov 12, 2023

If you want your child to have the best learning experience, you need to know that there are two things that friends and family often do that accidentally confuse and frustrate the student's learning!

Avoid these two pitfalls and you'll have a more successful start!

Pitfall #1. "Echoing"

Imagine your child was having a lesson with a private teacher where a parent is sitting behind the student, repeating the teacher's instructions...

It may sound silly, but this is often exactly what happens when kids are learning from a video!

The problem is, parent's have one of the most powerful voices in their child's mind... so when this happens, any well-disciplined child shifts their focus away from the teacher, choosing instead to prioritize their parent. 

While this is usually a good thing, in this case, it gets in the way of them becoming strong, confident, independent learners. 

The solution is easy! First, just let the lesson do the teaching by not repeating instructions, and if they miss something, teach them to rewind a bit so they can try again to understand. Second, if they really do need clarification, help them find the solution by asking guiding questions instead of giving direct answers. For example, if they say "what key am I supposed to play?" you might respond with "Which key do you think it is?" Often, they can find the correct answer in just a few tries! 

Pitfall #2. Moving their Fingers / Playing their Keys

Playing piano is exciting! So exciting, in fact, that parents and older siblings are often interested in joining in on lesson time...

This might seem like a good thing! That is... until it becomes apparent to the younger learner that everyone who is older seems to be better and faster at it than them, because whenever they're learning a new song, everyone else seems to know which keys to hit faster, and they prove it by playing the song on other parts of the keyboard.

Then, usually in a well-meaning effort to help, they grab their hands or fingers and mash them into the keys for them. Nothing about that is helpful for learning. In fact, for a young child, this feels physically and emotionally violating, and faster than anything else, it takes the fun right out of the experience. 

Thankfully, the the solution is also easy! When it's time to start learning piano, talk to anyone in your home who might be tempted to "learn" alongside the student, and put a protective boundary in place so that when the only person allowed to touch the keys is the student, and that they must learn to do it without any "help" from the family!

Final Thought

Remember, learning something new is vulnerable. It takes courage to even try! That's why after each song, give your kids the special kind of encouragement that goes so well with learning music: Rounds of applause, high-fives, and hugs - which mean 1,000x more coming from YOU than from anyone else!



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