Meet Ben, Karissa, and their 9 year old daughter Savannah from Coral Springs, Florida. They have a lovable, yet often mischievous, Australian Shepherd/Border Collie mix, named Zip that they rescued a few years ago.
Q: What’s your musical background?
Our family’s musical background is fairly limited. I [Ben] took piano lessons for several years when I was around Savannah’s age, and then taught myself a little guitar from method books in my early 20’s. Oh, and my wife can sing pretty good karaoke! My recent attempts at music have been non-existent until recently when I got Savannah into the Busy Kids program, which also motivated me to pick up the piano again, with more focus than ever!
Q: Anything fun or unique you’d like to share about your family?
Savannah is an only child, and sometimes when asked if she has any brothers or sisters, she will respond with an emphatic yes! Her dog Zip! Zip is a lovable, yet often mischievous, Australian Shepherd/Border Collie mix who we rescued several years ago.
Q: How do you structure piano lessons/practice for your family? Any tips to share?
We use the monthly challenges to provide motivation for practice. These work really well for us, providing motivation and goals every month. When we first started, practice was easy and exciting. However, like I’m sure happens to many children, as things get more challenging, practice becomes more of a chore. I think the lessons provide good reasonable progression for someone my daughter’s age. Most lessons can be completed in a relatively short amount of time so she doesn’t get frustrated. It’s always a sense of accomplishment every time she gets to check off that she completed a lesson. I tried Ms. Carly’s recommendation to not focus on practice time, but instead work on completing specific lines, measures, or hands, etc. This worked great for a while, but Savannah kept wanting an amount of time she had to practice. I asked her what amount of time she thought she should do. She suggested 25 minutes, which was perfectly fine with me, so that has been our daily practice requirement. Of course, it’s not truly daily, typically, she practices around 4 days a week. This has worked well, allowing her to progress at a good pace, feeling good about steadily accomplishing new things, and not getting too upset about being pushed to practice too much. Overall, I think the monthly challenges, and the results she sees in herself when she accomplishes a new piece, are what really help with keeping her motivated.
Q: How did you learn about Busy Moms/Kids Do Piano?
I considered private lessons for my daughter for some time, but given the price, commitment, and not having a huge desire from my daughter at the time I never pulled the trigger. Then one day my sister told me about this program called BusyKids, that she had started using for her son. She learned about it on social media. She told me that she really liked how personal it was and of course the price! She also told me about the free trial course which was nice to try out before committing. I mentioned it to my daughter a few times, and a few months later she expressed a desire to start learning! It just so happened it was during a special open enrollment period due to the unfortunate virus situation, so we were able to start right away.
Q: Do you have any stories you’d like to share about your musical journey with piano lessons?
I really like the structure of these lessons as compared to many online programs. Gearing them for kids is great, plus Ms. Carly teaches how to play the piano, not just how to press notes. When Savannah started, it got me motivated to start learning again also, which I have not done much of since I was a child. When I started looking for myself, I had no idea the world of stuff that is available online for piano lessons these days. As I looked around, and did trials of several programs for myself, I learned how many of these are structured. This made me appreciate the method used by Ms. Carly in her program even more. I think it’s perfect for children learning. So Savannah’s musical journey also renewed a journey of mine that I have tremendously enjoyed this past year. But just as much, it’s been such a pleasure to watch how well Savannah has progressed over the past year. I often wonder that having the ability to set our own pace at her progression, and being able to move to the next lessons when she’s ready, has advanced her just as quickly if not more so than private lessons would have in her first year.
Q: What is your goal with having your child learn to play the piano?
My goal is for Savannah to develop an appreciation of piano, and get to a level where she feels comfortable playing pieces that challenge her and give her joy, so that she can develop a lifelong interest and hobby. Of course, to get there, my more immediate goal is to help her maintain interest enough so that she will continue to challenge herself and learn! Wish me luck! A more near term goal has also been to give Savannah something productive and educational to focus on, especially as we are home more than ever these days where having additional structure really helps.