Practice – Encouragement


“You only need to practice on the days that you eat!”  Dr. Suzuki said, with a big smile on his face.

“So, eat often!” says, Miss Bambie, “and a sense of humour is essential!”

It is a very real thing that students become overwhelmed!  Encouragement is precious and tender love within a vulnerable moment.  Children are changing and learning new things every day and all the time!  How many adults are willingly do that?  Understand each situation for your child and you will build beauty of spirit into your relationship. 

“No matter how accomplished you are, in a new piece of music, you face all the things you do not yet know how to do! No wonder there is resistance!”   Miss Bambie

“It always helps to have people we love beside us when we have to do difficult things in life”. Fred Rogers.

Don’t let this overwhelmed experience surprise you.  Allow it to make your heart tender.  “Learn to expect it be prepared.  Prepare, before you have an expectation.”  Miss Bambie on the dichotomy of practicing. 

There are simple ways to avoid trouble.

“Always work on your relationship, instead!”  Bambie Maree

Simple things go a long way toward success:

Plan on a simple action to encourage a good outcome!

LISTEN to what the child is saying.  Observe the notes from the teacher in the lesson.  Come rested and fed.  Smile more often.  Praise good effort, but not lazy praise.  Make it meaningful.  Children love it, and they will give it back to encourage you, also!

Set a goal, get organized in baby steps, try every practice, and keep track of what works and what doesn’t.  Celebrate often!

Students need an “organizer” in a home-coach, who “hears and sees” to set up their home practice needs.  The home-coach needs to be creative and to change in their approach; to find a way to re-organize lesson ideas for at home practice.  

Talent, the possibility of a sprout to grow!”  Schinichi Suzuki

It is a wise home coach who will offer a relaxed chat about the struggle to focus and meet a goal while practicing at home.

“Work harder on the environment and less “on” the child,” Schinichi Suzuki.  

Keep your struggles from other things out of the piano practice time.  Miss Bambie calls this:   “Becoming free from peas and carrots”.  Children resist for a reason!

The practice time can become an intimate one on one with your child if you don’t include other frustrations. Find out what is on your child’s mind. 

Often after you have gained some success over difficulty, a child will soften, and tell you something more private about themselves.  This vulnerability is precious in your relationship.  It happens when trust is formed in the furnace of frustration that has been helped by encouragement.  The piano practice time can become this precious time for you and the student.

Sometimes a home coach can limit a child’s progress.  Don’t assume that something that you think is hard, is going to be hard for the student!

Learn to see your child from the “eyes” of the teacher who very likely holds a higher standard of what can be accomplished without trouble.  They know what a student is able to do, and they know the next step, so go with that next step in confidence.  Speak to the teacher privately about a concern, and also about possibilities.

  • Learn to simply turn the page and try something else. This brings independence in learning.  Turn the page.  Teach the child to turn the page.  Venture forward!
  • Learn to make a list of goals and eventually, successes.

Practice earlier in the day.  Learn to listen to the music ahead of practice time!

Don’t take this for granted, adults!  This is KEY to learning!

Most accomplished students say that when they took the trouble to listen to the music on the down loads, and when they practiced in the morning, “everything changed!”  It is THAT true!  These words came to me from the children who noticed the change!

The attitude of the adult parent-coach affects the attitude of the student.  Model an attitude of curiosity in difficulties.  Encourage with love. “Nurtured by Love” Dr. Suzuki.

We are in the business of creating beauty, so, we too must bring an attitude of a beautiful and flexible will to learn and to accept change.  This is precious, AND tenuous, and it will need fostering! 

AVOID TROUBLE:  You can not improve on truth!  Accept some basics in preparation.

Don’t re-create a wheel that is already there to support you.  It wastes time.

“It will take a will of spirit to choose to implement this help, but if you do, it will ALWAYS bring a happy and beautiful result.”  Bambie Maree

  • Prepare to play when rested and after having a healthy protein snack.
  • Get organised.
  • Provide a proper instrument that makes a beautiful tone.
  • Play the downloads!  NO excuses.
  • Buy the books.
  • Practice earlier in the day.  
  • Practice the LESSON POINTS
  • Practice in small bits and moments!  And again and again. 
  • Find NEW ways to keep track.
  • Leave the evening for celebration and song!

In the lesson, your teacher has learned the skills to diminish tension and struggle for the student.  Use this pedagogy at home!  It is very important to use the help at hand and to avoid setting up stress in learning.  There are steps that will perfectly aid in learning without struggle.  

The home coach needs to take some notes during the lesson, so that they can relay that information back to the student at home, by saying, “here is what your teacher says…..  Does this help you?  Do you remember how you managed at the lesson?  You were trying your best!  Well done!  How can we do this here at home?  Got any ideas?”  

Include the student in the way to solve the problem, and then, help them with a celebration as soon as they can meet a small goal successfully and with a great attitude.

“Attitude directly affects confidence and a willingness to venture out in faith of the unknown.” “Practice teaches us who we are and what we can become.  It’s in YOUR hands”.   Bambie Maree

Students need encouragement!  They are looking at brand new material that requires deep studying and perseverance!  They feel that every time it is like starting from the beginning and using all their skills to move forward into the unknown territory.  Practice teaches us resilience and dedication.  These are huge standards, and something of which to be very proud in every step of achievement.  A loving touch, a kind word, a reminder of what was said and what took place in the lesson, is one of the most important things that an adult coach can do to encourage determination in a student.  

“Children accomplish magic during a lesson, with a good teacher, and it is very hard to re-produce that experience at home! This, is why they resist!  They are highly intelligent!  We are all fearful, until we feel masterful, but if you try to step toward a new quest with curiosity and healthy support strategies, the student will make magic happen for themselves, and no one will forget THAT!”

Glen Gould and his faithful encourager.

“No one ever forgets the smile of the one who feels they have conquered a goal and who is supported along the way!”  Miss Bambie