Why do piano students quit? Recent research by Karen King provides the answers. Students need three things in order to be motivated to succeed. If they don't have these three things, chances are they will become discouraged and quit. What are the three ingredients for piano success?
Students have to feel like they are competent and can do piano. In order to feel competent, they have to receive good instruction, and put in the practice times. Students in grades 2-4 who dropped out averaged 80 minutes of practice per week. Students in the same age group who continued lessons had an average of 155 minutes of practice per week. So - actually putting in the time on the piano bench at home is a great predictor of success.
Competency is a part of every lesson here at Denton Piano Lessons. We stress the steps that are important to music learning, practice the skill, then turn the students loose to explore these on their own. Many times, students will achieve high scores on their pieces through Piano Maestro because they have focused on this sure-fire process.
Students who have a sense of autonomy have a higher sense of ownership in their music study. Students who can choose some of the pieces that they study, or they have a choice about when they practice, develop a higher self-motivation about piano. This motivation can include extrinsic motivation, but transcends that into feeling like it is something that they want to do.
I am hopeful that every student will pick the pieces and styles that they enjoy most. There are certain things we must all learn. No doubt, we have our favorite pieces to play. Often, for a studio recital, I will let the child pick whatever they want to play and share. Then, the musical expression comes from the heart.
Piano students need to know that what they are doing matters to those who matter the most to them. If family or friends do not see piano lessons as "cool" or "relevant", students will not want to continue. If students are studying classical pieces, for example, and their family never listens to classical music, it becomes hard for them to stay motivated.
So- what can parents do to help their kids stay motivated? Karen King offers 3 suggestions: