On this week’s episode, I get to interview my two most favorite piano parents in the whole world: my parents, Jerry and Patricia Truett. They were first introduced to the idea of piano lessons through a cardboard keyboard that was sent home from the Dallas Public School District.
This was my very first piano lesson book. It was published by the Dallas Independent School District. Amazing!
How did you find a new piano teacher after you moved from the Dallas area?
Mostly word of mouth and recommendations from other parents. We started with one teacher who turned out to be very strict and not a good personality fit for Shelly. After a few years, we found a new teacher, Mrs. Yancey, who was much more positive and encouraging, which was a great motivator.
A while after that, Mrs. Yancey suggested we transfer to another teacher who could share more advanced piano music as well as how to embellish church music and hymns. Finally, in high school, Shelly studied with another teacher who helped her prepare for college.
How do you schedule practice at home?
Our piano was in the dining room so most practice happened in the afternoon while Mom was preparing the evening meal. Even she wasn’t musically trained, she would still listen to my music and tell me if a song sounded right of not.
Families may need to schedule home practice to help the student while still making time for other family activities.
What motivates your child with piano practice and study?
“You wanted to play for other people. If somebody was at our house, you liked to play. You stated playing for church and the local nursing home. … The residents at nursing homes thoroughly enjoy it when someone comes. It gives the student the opportunity to perform for people who are not going to be critical.”
Shelly’s note: My piano teacher would help me learn two hymns at the lesson and on Wednesday evening Bible study at church I would tell the music leader what songs I had practiced. Those were the songs he had the congregation sing. Growing up in a small community with a small church afforded me the opportunity to learn, at an early age, how to accompany church worship services.
What mountaintop experiences has your piano kid enjoyed through piano study –
Learning to play “Somewhere, My Love” like Daddy had requested when I first started piano lessons and playing it at a wedding that he was officiating.
Are you a musician?
Mom says “No” but I think she has a lovely singing voice and I love standing next to her singing in church.
Daddy is currently taking bass guitar lessons. You’re never too old to learn to play an instrument!
What was the last music you listened to for fun?
Mom: Southern Gospel
Dad: Willie’s Roadhouse – old country music. Jamming at a local restaurant with other gospel and country musicians.
What does your piano teacher do that you really applaud?
They were encouragers and encouragement goes a long way.
What does success at piano mean to you?
Dad: When you could just sit down and start playing. To be able to read a song you had never heard before.
Mom: I remember telling you when you were practicing to not just play the notes but to make the piano sound like it’s singing. That is comforting and relaxing and enjoyable to me.
A word of advice for new piano parents:
Mom: The child has to enjoy lessons themselves. Parents, don’t push your child into something they don’t want. If they enjoy it and want to do it, then encourage them and brag on them. Be patient. As time goes on, they’ll get better and better and then you’ll be just as proud of them as I am of my daughter.
Dad: When they’re playing their pieces, walk over and ask them to show you how they did that. Let them teach you. Here is your link to Episode 009: Let your child watch you learn something new.
Would you like the opportunity to brag on your piano kid and compliment your piano teacher? Comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to get on the interview schedule.
Be the "Just Right" parent
Click here to get the free tip sheet mentioned in this week's episode.