Veronica Garcia is the mom of three children, two of whom study piano in my own studio in Whitehouse, Texas.
At the time of this recording, Veronica’s daughter, Eva (7), was her only child taking piano lessons with me. Since then, Eva’s little brother, Eli, has also started piano lessons.
Veronica wanted her children to study piano for several reasons: to boost academic skills, to develop the creative side of her brain, and to introduce her to various styles of music and culture.
How do you schedule practice at home?
Veronica incorporates regular piano practice as part of her children’s after school routine. After being cooped up in school all day, Veronica is intentional about give Eva some outside playtime for about 20 minutes. When outside playtime is done, Eva spends 20-25 minutes at the piano. While Eva is at the piano, Veronica keeps her other two children occupied so that Eva can practice with minimal interruptions.
Eva begins her practice session with her assigned pieces for that week. After she’s made progress on her assignment, Eva reviews older, favorite pieces until her practice time is done.
How do you assist your child during home practice?
Although Veronica doesn’t read music, she is still able to help Eva with practicing at home by keeping practice as part of her routine and by keeping her younger children occupied so that Eva can practice without interruption.
What motivates your piano kid regarding piano practice?
Piano practice and school homework must be completed in order for Eva to be able to watch a short television program. In addition to this reward, Eva has a genuine love of music and enjoys the beautiful sounds she is learning to create.
What struggles have your piano kids overcome through piano study?
Eva has always preferred to read music as opposed to memorizing a piece. One year at recital, she refused to memorize her recital piece, but then saw the other students playing from memory so Eva attempted to play her piece by memory also. She stumbled with it and her piano teacher helped her through it. Eva stayed until her performance was complete and I was proud of her for not getting embarrassed or running off the stage. She made sure to memorize her recital piece the next year!
Mountaintop Experiences through piano study –
Eva loves Christmas music. She plays it year round and sometimes when she wants to get away from her younger siblings and the hustle and bustle of the house. I think it clams her and brings her peace.
What does success at piano mean to you?
Going to college on a music scholarship would be a great dream come true! But, besides that, just having my children develop a love and appreciation for music. When they look back I want them to say, “I’m glad my mom had me study music.”
My goal is for my children to study some sort of instrument until they are 18.
As a mom, there have been times when I didn’t think Eva was making progress like she should. Eva wasn’t frustrated or bored but, without a gauge to measure against, I wasn’t sure if she was moving forward. Then all of a sudden she would make huge leaps in her playing ability.
This has taught me to be patient and consistent. Even if it seems like she is not improving when she plays music she has already mastered, she is playing the piano. That activity is building neural pathways in her brain; I just can’t see it at the moment.
A word of advice for new piano parents:
Make sure to keep piano fun.
Make practice time age appropriate. (A general rule of thumb is to have them practice their age multiplied by three.)
Don’t be discourage if the student doesn’t’ appear to be advancing.
Resources related to this episode:
Beatles for Babies – music that relates to parents with lyrics kids can enjoy too