Given the chance, most kids will opt out of the many hours of piano practice even though they want the fulfillment of being good at playing the piano. The truth is, the same applies to adults, but they have grown-ups have a much better understanding of how life works, so their resistance will be much more under control.

Piano technique exercises can particularly be tedious, but fortunately, there are ways to make them fun so that kids respond to them more positively. Here’s a visual to get you started:

off the keys piano practice for kids
Infographic Courtesy of TakeLessons


Image Courtesy of Storycard Theatre
Image Courtesy of Storycard Theatre

You’ll want to have a couple of rhythm instruments (claves, bongos, and djembe) around. Every week choose one that you can use to play rhythm patterns with your students or child. This should be done away from the piano to make it fun.

Parents can be involved with rhythm practice at home. Lots of household items make good percussion instruments. Try taking two plastic bottle caps with some “Sticky Tack” inside. Little fingers can develop fine motor skills by tapping the bottle caps together. Buy a set of rhythm flashcards and tap two to three rhythm patterns each day. Or let them create their own rhythm pattern, record it, and then try writing it. At their next lesson, their piano teacher can listen and give feedback on how accurately they wrote the rhythm. Via TakeLessons

Eliminate tension

It’s easy to help a young student understand what tension means by using a squish ball or animal. This can be used to practice a relaxed, rounded shape of the hand. When the rubber animal’s face is squeezed, it contorts and when the hand relaxes, the animal face returns to normal. This is a simple way to remind them and train their minds to recognize tension in their muscles.

Additionally, here are some ways for children to become aware of tension in other areas of their body:

Spine – Student should stand near a wall, letting the back of their head rest on the wall. This will establish the feeling of good posture. Have them return to the bench, facing away from the keys and sit quietly for 10 seconds with this corrected posture. Be sure their feet are resting flat on the floor or on a stool of proper height. It helps to show them 10 seconds on a timer before they begin so they know how short this resting time will be!

Shoulders – Student should breathe in deeply and exhale. Did their shoulders drop? Do they feel more relaxed now? Have them pretend their tummy is a balloon and after they inflate the balloon, they let out all of the air. It’s fun to actually blow up a balloon while they breathe in and let it deflate when they exhale. But some children will be more distracted by the balloon and may not focus on the breathing exercise. If time is available, demonstrate with the balloon first and then put it away.

Elbows – Student should lay their fingertips on the closed lid of the piano or a table of about the same height and check to see if their elbows are suspended away from their body or if they are lowered and relaxed at their side. Many students love to imagine a monkey swinging on their elbow. Let the monkey swing two or three times and come to a resting position.

Wrists – Students often struggle with the concept of bending their wrists, but this should be developed during the early years of learning piano. Try having your students use their three long fingers to “paint” a group of three black keys. (They may even want to choose a color.) Have them “paint” those three keys with a smooth, slow stroke – curling the fingers as they slide from the back to the front of the keys. Encourage them to lift their wrists up and down with a beautiful fluid motion. Demonstrate first! Via TakeLessons

piano posture
Image Courtesy of Flickr

The following ‘zombie’ exercise would also be great for kids:

Have students face away from the keys and do a “zombie pose” (arms straight out in front, hands dangling from wrists).

Do a “zombie wave” (flop hands up and down).

Now have them lower their arms and bend at the elbows, continuing to do the “zombie wave.”

Next, have them drop their hands like dead weight, and then let their wrists lift their arms back up while hands continue to dangle.

Have students focus on their wrists at all times. It’s important that they don’t get so caught up in the zombie fun that they miss the point of the exercise! Via TakeLessons


Pedaling while reading through their music away from the piano is a good way to keep practicing fun and engaging for kids.

They could also listen to a recording of their music while practicing just their pedaling. This can be done from any chair — or for an element of fun, lying on their back with their foot on the wall! Beginners can simply practice keeping their heel on the floor while lifting their toes up and down. Isolating and practicing these simple movements is the first step toward developing their musicianship! Via TakeLessons

Featured Image: Image Credit

How To Motivate Your Kids To Practice The Piano - Josh Wright Piano TV
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