5 Tips for Boosting Summer Piano Practice

Leila Viss
Leila Viss

Summer time means fewer lessons and less time at the keys. We therefore wanted to
provide you some 
tips on how to keep your maestro playing during their break, so they won’t miss a beat come Fall. 

Shopping Cart 
Next time you are waiting in line to pay for groceries and your young shopper asks for  candy or a new toy, say yes. Qualify the yes by offering rewards with success on Piano Maestro (PM). As your young musician works his way through the Alfred’s Premier Piano Course Lesson books or Jennifer Eklund’s Piano Pronto, let him earn one quarter when a new piece is mastered and receives three gold stars on PM. Once enough quarters are earned, let him add his favorite treat to the shopping cart.

On the Road Again 
If a long road trip is planned for the summer, there’s no excuse to miss a day of practice when you pack the iPad and Piano Maestro. Since there’s plenty of familiar tunes in the library, choose one and invite a family sing-a-long as your pianist plays the tune on the app. Tips: pack headphones and load songs prior to your trip as PM requires Wi-Fi for songs one has not played before. 

Maestro League Baseball

When it’s rainy outside play baseball inside. Once a “batter” earns three gold stars on a PM song, she advances to first base. Every time three stars are awarded, the batter runs to the next base until she reaches home plate. The sibling (or opposing team) with the most runs at the end of the week wins a box of Cracker Jacks, a game of catch with Dad or maybe a trip to the ballpark!

Extreme Makeover
Building your young musician’s independence at the piano is the desirable and the ultimate goal of both teachers and parents. Select a song from Piano Maestro that is available as sheet music or one from the method books featured in the library that seems equal to or slightly more difficult than what your child is currently playing. You can download PM sheet music here. With little to no help, ask him or her to read through the piece as accurately as possible. With her permission, video this initial and perhaps somewhat rough first-time through the piece. Then open up PM, locate the same song and using PM’s Learn Mode have her gradually master the piece. Track success with a follow-up video of her breezing through the piece using PM at the intended tempo. Don’t forget to watch both videos together and marvel at the extreme makeover!

Dynamic Duo
If friends or cousins are hanging around, it can be hard to maintain a practice routine. Encourage your pianist to play PM with his favorite buddy to stay active at the keys. After a PM song is chosen, your child will assign and locate one note (such as Middle C) to his friend and help him identify it on the screen and find it on the keyboard. It may be best to begin learning the “duet” by using the PM Learn Mode first. Your pianist will play every note except Middle C and will need to make way for his buddy’s finger to play it instead. The bench may be a little crowded but there will be plenty of room for giggles.