Little Music Makers: Chinese New Year Tin Can Drum
January 21, 2017
New Year's Resolutions for Music Practice 2017
January 7, 2017
Happy 2017 to you! It’s a new year and there's no right time but now to set some new year resolutions. Resolutions are goals or actions that requires commitment and time to achieve but they help you focus on various aspects of your life and work towards improving that aspect.
It’s quite a common sight to see people setting resolutions for themselves but not sticking to them throughout the year. The trick is to actually keep to the resolution for at least two months, after which, it will be easier to stick to them because they’ve already become habits!
Resolutions require some thought into them as it needs to be achievable. Better yet! Make them measurable by setting small goals that will help you accomplish them!
Here are some New Year Resolutions for Piano Practice!
These resolutions could be for your child or for yourself. If they’re for your child, remember to have a chat with your child, and come to a consensus on what is achievable for them and what goals do they look forward to work towards! This is a non-exhaustive list so by all means, include your own resolutions that you’ve thought of!
1) Practice once every day
This may seem like a far-fetched idea, but it is possible! To improve on one’s piano playing, it requires a lot of commitment and dedication to practising. It’s not an easy goal to achieve but as mentioned, once it becomes a habit, it is much more easier to sustain and achieve this goal. Some ways you can motivate and track your child’s progress is by using a practice chart that you can download below by clicking on the image! When your child successfully reaches the end, reward him/her!
It’ll be good if you can fix a timing for this practice, one when your child is focused and relaxed so that the practice session can be good and productive.
It’s not enough to just practice every day. More importantly, the practice needs to be effective. Many times this problem occurs when one is not fully concentrating and keeps getting distracted. 15mins of full concentration practice is better than an hour of distracted practising! To help your child with his or her focus, try to reduce any distractions around the house during practice time. This includes television and other technology devices, any loud noises, and any other thing that is a more fun option to your child than practising the piano.
2) Learn a favourite piece within this year
Another resolution is to have your child learn a song that he or she really likes, within the year. Everyone has their own favourite songs and sometimes the songs may have a nice piano solo, or maybe your child has heard someone cover the song on the piano. Either ways, she or he just feels inspired to want to learn the piece on the piano but have not gotten around to doing it, perhaps because they’re afraid to try or they do not have the time for something outside of their regular schedule. Well, our suggestion is that if your child has a piece that they want to learn, even if it is of higher difficulty, they should go for it!
There are some reasons to this. One, there is just something very exciting when they get to learn a piece that they’re truly interested and love listening to. It makes a difference when they’re learning something because someone told them to, and when they learn something out of their own will. Second, the immense sense of achievement is sure to kick in when the new song is learnt and can be performed for people to hear. This is especially so if the piece is of a higher difficulty than usual. Which brings us to our next point. And that is that trying something of a higher difficulty than normal pieces may seem discouraging at the start. But if one works on it slowly and steadily, there will be improvements and it will increase the skills of the piano player.
Therefore, if your child says that he or she wants to learn a song that they really like, don’t
reject them. Instead, look for the scores online and try and teach them on your own. If there are no scores, and/or if you don’t have a music background, try suggesting to your child’s teacher that there is a song that your child wants to learn, and ask if the teacher can include it in the lesson schedule. Most of the time, piano teachers will acquiesce as long as their students do not neglect their usual lesson work.
3) Attend music performances at least once every three months
Music performances are great opportunities to expose oneself to various different genres, and to see people performing live could help with one’s playing and determination to improve on one’s playing. Why we say this is because very often we get inspired when we see someone performing so well, that we try to work harder to aim to reach those standards. Of course, a lot of times the resolve dies down (and that’s why your child needs to be committed to the resolutions!) but it doesn’t take away the fact that music performances can inspire your child and broaden his or her experiences with music.
It’s good to attend a performance at least once every three months. There are many free performances at the Esplanade that you can look out for, such as those performances at the Concourse and the Outdoor Theatre. They also offer many child-friendly events that usually involves music so keep a lookout on their website or you can subscribe to their mailing list for updates to upcoming events!
4) Perform in front of an audience
Performing in front of an audience can be a scary thing to most people. It mostly stems from us being afraid of making mistakes and people laughing at us. However, it is definitely a good experience that every musician should try at least once in their life! It’s also good to have the experience of performing early on in your child’s life when they are less likely to feel stage fright as they’ve yet to feel conscious about people laughing at them. Therefore, encourage your child to perform in front of an audience! It does not have to be a professional setting in a concert hall with audiences paying to watch you perform. It can even be a piano recital that is organised by their piano teacher in a studio or a function room, or an impromptu performance during your Sunday family gatherings.
If you wish for your child to gain more experience, you can take him or her to the Pianovers Meetup that happens every Sunday night at The URA Centre @ Maxwell Road. It’s a casual gathering of people from all walks of life who love all things piano and they share their love for music by performing on the 2 pianos placed there by Play It Forward Singapore. It’s a good chance and exposure for your child to perform in public and there’s less pressure because everyone is there to just make friends and share their love for music.
5) Explore different genres
Many times when learning the piano, students only learn a certain style of music, and this is usually classical, baroque and romantic music. Learning and practising music should be a fun adventure that is to be explored! Trying out different genres of music can be a way to explore music. It’s also fun to be playing the piano in a different style from what is usually played. It’s a refreshing break and at the same time, it expands the player’s skills because different genres require different techniques. You could suggest to your child’s piano teacher to let your little one play pop songs, jazz, swing, and others. Additionally, you can find scores online and let your child try out those songs once every while.
And that's it for our New Year Resolutions article! It's the start of new beginnings!