I teach many siblings at my studio and in my online programs, and I love that so many families are making musical education a priority in their household. (Plus, a little sibling rivalry can be motivating, right?)
Having a sibling in piano can be a wonderful thing. You have a duet partner, someone to ask questions to if you’re struggling, or perhaps even someone who motivates you to practice! But, it can also be tricky.
I’ve seen students become discouraged when a particular concept comes more easily to a brother or sister and they feel as though they aren’t learning as quickly. Sometimes, I’ll hear comparisons made to a sibling in a negative way.
“Ryan made it through Level 1 faster than I did when I was his age.”
“When Brynn played this piece it sounds so much better than when I play it.”
It breaks my heart when I hear these discouraged laments!
How can you as a parent help?
Always speak positively about each of your students.
NEVER compare skill or performance ability in a way that would encourage negative sibling rivalry.
Talk about progress as it pertains to each child’s unique abilities.
“You have really increased the tempo on that piece!” or “I noticed how much more expressively you’ve been playing lately!”
Praise diligent, consistent practice habits.
This should be emphasized over how quickly a child is progressing through lesson materials.
If children become consumed with comparing their piano abilities to a sibling — and ultimately, to any other musician! — they might begin to feel discouraged and give up, or not gain enjoyment out of learning to play the piano. Helping your child find joy in his own progress and successes will help him to learn that he doesn’t have to be THE BEST at something in order to gain enjoyment and fulfillment out it.