Even the most ambitious
kids get lazy about practicing their scales. How do you avoid
a tug-of-war when boredom sets in on daily drills?
>> Don’t Force It. You can’t make a child
play an instrument or take lessons, says Judith Stein, a child
psychoanalyst based in midtown. But if a preschooler shows
an early interest, buy her a toy piano or enroll her in a
baby ballet class. “It shouldn’t be a power struggle,”
Stein says. “It should be fun.”
>> Expose Your Child To The Arts. Toby Perlman, wife
of violin virtuoso and kids’ music coach Itzhak Perlman,
notes that New York is filled with cheap performances. Juilliard
offers free concerts by students, as does the Perlman Music
Program on Shelter Island. Carnegie Hall has $8 classical
concerts aimed at kids during the school year, and the Philharmonic
opens its doors for morning dress rehearsals at the Lincoln
Center; tickets are $14 (call 212-875-5656 for details).
>> Shop Around. Just because a teacher is a good
match for one child, that doesn’t mean he’ll be
right for yours. Parents should sit in on lessons to make
sure there’s good chemistry between teacher and student.
Even Itzhak Perlman himself says it’s not the student’s
fault if she’s not conquering a particular piece. “My
husband always says it’s the job of the teacher to see
to it that the child doesn’t become bored,” says
Toby Perlman. “The child may just need more challenges.”
>> Create Flexible Practice Schedules. Piano teacher
Kazuko Baba says practicing every day is nonnegotiable. However,
the child should decide how long to practice. A few minutes
every day is better than an hour once a week, Baba says.