Beth Hughes is the mom of three children, two of whom, Ben and Hannah, study piano in my own studio in Whitehouse, Texas.
Piano lessons were important to Beth for her children because she saw the educational value of learning to play an instrument. She knows that music is an activity that uses both sides of the brain. Beth also would love for her children to use their music to serve others as they get older.
How do you schedule practice at home?
As a home school mom, Beth makes piano practice part of her children’s daily routine. She tries to get all their practicing in during the week days to keep their weekends free for other family activities.
My studio rule for practicing is the student’s age times three. Hannah is 9 so she aims to practice about 27 minutes each week day. Ben, at 12, tries to practice closer to 36 minutes. These practice times fluctuate during the year depending on various school and piano activities.
How do you assist your child during home practice?
Beth sees her role with home practice as the encourager. She helps them work through frustration with challenging assignments. She also serves as an audience for her children occasionally.
What motivates your piano kid regarding piano practice?
Ben and Hannah enjoy playing music that they hear on the radio or in church. They get excited when they hear a song playing on the radio that they’ve been studying. It makes their music real!
What struggles have your piano kids overcome through piano study?
Entering middle school has given Ben a much heavier academic load. That has made it more difficult for him to work piano into his schedule. Ben and his mom worked together to figure out a reduced practice schedule that would allow him to continue piano. They didn’t want piano to be all or nothing. This was a great life lesson for him to learn; sometimes you have to approach difficult situations from a different angle.
Mountaintop Experiences through piano study –
When they finally master a really difficult piece. At first, when they look at a new piece, they may struggle. Then they work one hand at a time or small sections and it finally clicks and they get so excited! As their mother, I always try to remind them that they have persevered. They worked through something that was difficult! They learn that sticking with something is worthwhile.
They can say, “I did this! Nobody else did it for me – I did it!”
What does success at piano mean to you?
For me, it’s just persevering. Your piece doesn’t have to be perfect; I just don’t want you to quit. I want you to keep trying – try a little, try a lot, just try! Don’t give up. ~ Beth Hughes, Piano Mom
Have realistic expectations and goals for yourself and for your kids.
A word of advice for new piano parents:
Keep the joy in it! Don’t rob your kids of the joy that music can bring – to themselves, to their family members, to other people. Sometimes we parents can have tunnel vision about certain musical objects and that can rob the whole joy out of music to that it just becomes another task.
Guard your child’s practice time and piano studies. Do everything in your power to keep it from being a negative experience.