Healthy Home Practice Environment Part 1: Location

Happy New Year everyone! We're jumping into the new year with a blog series about helping set up a Healthy Home Practice Environment that will encourage piano students to visit the piano often during the coming year. 

Today our discussion is all about location. Where your instrument is located in the house can actually have a huge effect on your student's consistency in practicing. In creating a pleasant space to practice, you will show your child your family values music, and that can only help in instilling a sense of musicianship within themselves.

Here are 5 key things to think about when choosing where to put the piano:
  • 1. For those with digital pianos, your piano should have a permanent location.
    •  An instrument that has to be stowed away under a bed or leaned against a wall between practice sessions is simply not going to get practiced enough. Show your child that music is worth investing in by creating a permanent space for them to build their musicianship skills.
  • 2. Quiet enough that the student can have practice time without unnecessary distractions. 
    • If you have just the one living space where the piano shares with the TV, consider turning off the TV during practice, or investing in wireless headphones so the TV volume can be down while your piano kid practices. If you have a study room, or a secondary living space, brainstorm a way to use that effectively to allow your piano kid focused time to work on their music.
  • 3. Centrally located enough that the student doesn't feel 'banished' from the rest of the family while practicing. 
    • Piano practice can be a solitary activity, but if the piano is in a far corner of the house that's rarely visited, practices will also be rare. A piano that is in a visible place is a reminder to practice, and kids who are more social will appreciate having some company in their vicinity while they play.
  • 4. Avoid making the piano the backpack or jacket landing zone when you come home from other activities. Having an accessible instrument is key in consistent practice. 
    • If this currently happens in your house, consider a different designated spot for backpacks, coats and bags.
  • 5. If you have an acoustic piano, the humidity & temperature of the room can make a difference to the health of your instrument. For example, wood warps when it gets too dry, and the metal strings inside the instrument can rust when exposed to too much moisture. Pianos that are in good working order are more fun to play than those that are not. So:
    • Pianos should always be in a temperature controlled part of the house.
    • If your piano is in a basement room, use a dehumidifier during the Spring & Summer months when basements are especially damp. 
    • If your house has central air & heat, your piano may be getting a lot of dry air exposure. Consider investing in a humidifier for the piano room if necessary.  
And check back next week, because once you've got the piano situated, we want to make sure that it is set up for good technical work so your piano kid can have healthy hands, wrists and shoulders as they spend time at the instrument. So next week we'll be talking about Ergonomics.