As I write this, the holidays are quickly approaching. For many, this means time off of school, traveling to see family, or even hosting friends and family from out-of-town. This disruption to your typical routine might also mean piano practicing goes by the wayside.
Whether it’s holiday plans, an opportunity to travel for an extended period of time, or a temporary busy “season” where your child is in a school play or taking the bus all over for sporting events, there are times when our piano practice routine is thrown out of whack.
This doesn’t mean all learning has to cease! There are plenty of fun and interactive ways to learn on the road.
Before we get into some specifics, I do want to give a word of encouragement. Taking a few weeks off from regular practice because you have an opportunity to travel or spend time with family? Please revel in this! Don’t feel that all is lost because your child hasn’t looked at a piano in a couple of weeks. Allow yourself and your student the freedom to enjoy this time without being bogged down with guilt. (And when you’re ready to get back into your practicing groove, check out this post for some helpful practicing tips!)
That said, there are also ways to incorporate piano learning on the road. Perhaps you have a long road trip ahead of you, or you’re visiting a grandma who owns a beautiful grand piano. Read on for some practicing tips for musical learning on the go.
Use An App (click here for some of my favorites).
If you’re a student in my Busy Kids program, be sure to check out all the games available to your child. Your student can play theory games to review keyboard geography, note reading, intervals, the musical alphabet and key signatures while sitting in the car during that long road trip! Use an app on a mobile phone or device to review note names — something especially important for beginning students.
If your student will have access to an instrument, encourage her to play it!
When I was a child and visited my grandparents, it was always expected that I would play my latest recital pieces for them on their heirloom piano. I also enjoyed learning pieces from some of my grandparents favorite films and musicals at my lessons. When visiting, I’d then surprise them by playing these familiar songs. One of my piano students has a cousin who is also a gifted pianist, and whenever they are together, they always request that I send them with fun duet music they can learn together. These breaks from the “norm” of learning still encourage progression (and maintenance!) and can be fun and beneficial for your student!
Even if your student doesn’t have opportunity to practice music at the piano, she can still learn the rhythm.
Bring along a small tambourine or wooden blocks for your child. She can work on the rhythm from the treble or bass clef in a piece of music.
Students in my paid program are able to view many LISTENING ACTIVITIES in the bonus modules.
These ear training activities are fun and interactive and don’t require a piano! They help students have a deeper understanding of musical concepts as listening skills are strengthened.
Seek out exciting and unique musical experiences for your child while on the road!
While these don’t necessarily help your child review a particular piano skill, they can be incredibly inspiring and motivating for your child. They also help him to recognize the relevance and importance of the arts. Because we live in a small town, whenever we visit big cities, I always check to see if there is a ballet performance, Broadway musical or children’s symphony we can attend. There are also many free opportunities in other places that you might be able to expose your child to. Look for street musicians or concerts at the park in the summer. Some cities are home to incredibly musical churches where orchestras or choirs perform as part of regular Sunday services.
Embracing a bit of a break from routine while still seeking out out-of-the-box opportunities for musical growth and learning is all part of a wonderful and exciting balance for your student on his musical journey!
What practicing tips do you have for piano students who are on the road?