Helpful tools, apps, books & press articles

Tools for children’s practice 

For very young children their favourite toy could be used in practice.  The toy could be the one to give instructions, guidance and praise.  It takes pressure and frustration away between child and parent.   If your child wants to play with the toy say firmly that their toy is in charge and wants to have play time away from the piano later.

Express pride in small achievements whether it is improvement with rhythm, recognition of notes, left hand getting stronger, sitting beautifully without wriggling throughout practice time, concentration improvement etc. Award with stars on a star chart – gold for 3 points and silver for 1 point.  The prize could be something related to their passion in music.

Keep other siblings busy and away from the room where your child practises.  This goes for pets too!

Put all ipads, ipods, iphones away!  So no temptation for your child to be side-tracked.  See below for Time Tokens for guidance how to monitor your child’s screen time and keep them focused on developing creative hobbies.

Encourage your child to perform at home in front of family, friends. Guide them to announce their piece and take a bow as they would do if performing at a school music concert.

Ask their piano teacher or Head of Music to put your child forward for a music concert at school.  If it’s their first one make sure it is not too formal and they are fluent in their piece.  Although playing from memory is to be encouraged, this is best to avoid if it is their first performance.  If your child is very young or a little nervous make sure the school piano teacher or Head of Music is flexible to sit near to them while performing in case assistance or encouragement is required.    Always praise whether their performance was good or hesitant.  Remember nerves can kick in and this is all about building confidence and experience.

Time Tokens 

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A great new product that enables children to manage their own screen time.   The inspiring, fun and colourful Frazzles characters encourage young children to develop their own hobbies whether it be music, art, drama, sport or science.  Finally a tool that removes both parents and teacher’s frustration with children’s screen time.

Many parents of my pupils have experienced the latter when trying to encourage their child to practice or do their homework.  My young pupils like to think they are a bit like Splodge!  Their concentration has improved so  much and practice is now seen as something fun and cool to do!  Adding and subtracting the tokens has also developed basic numerical skills.   So understanding of rhythm and time signatures is grasped with more ease.

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Suzie, mother of Freya: “At last something to assist with the battle of the screen!  I feared at one point that my musical daughter would lose her passion for playing to her addiction to Minecraft!   Time Tokens thankfully has come to my rescue and her focus and enjoyment of playing has returned.  So now back on track for Grade 2.  Phew!”

Alexander: “I think I’m a bit like Splodge and Whizz!  I love playing imaginary games in the playground and I’m getting better on the piano.  But I also love football and going very fast on my scooter”.  

Itunes Apps

Steinway Metronome

A simple app to use at home on iphone or ipad while practising.  It provides clear accurate time-keeping, diplays the correct musical term for current tempo.  You can choose a range of time signatures and even choose the wood finish!  If you can hear your child is not keeping up with the speed chosen guide them to choose a slower one and build up with each practise.  The metronome can be turned off once the tempo is established and a parent can tap a pencil at this tempo.

Requires iOS 4.0 or later.  Compatible with iphone, ipad, and ipod touch. 

 

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