We’ve all met students who couldn’t feel the beat or distinguish timbre or match pitch. One of the best ways to work on these skills is expanding their musical environment, so if we can get parents involved in cultivating real listening, we’re much more likely to see success.

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Family dance parties

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Hi [NAME],

An enormous amount of [CHILD NAME]’s musical learning will happen outside lessons and practice sessions. It will come from absorbing lots of music so that they build up active listening skills. 

That’s why I’d like to encourage you to have family dance parties and listening parties! Try out different radio stations and playlists to explore music together – not just pop music or classical piano pieces, but all music. Make a habit of talking about the music you’re listening to and trying to pick out different instruments. It really doesn’t matter whether you have musical training or not – this is all about exploring and discovering together. It’s a great activity for when you’re stuck in traffic or a lazy Sunday afternoon.

With appreciation,


PS On a related sidenote, if you’re using a digital piano or keyboard at home, make sure not to adjust the volume slider. If you need to keep it lower than the full volume that’s perfectly fine. But it’s best to decide on a setting and stick to it so that dynamics always feel the same and [CHILD NAME]’s ears and fingers can learn to coordinate.