Keeping the Music Alive After Lessons Stop

It comes inevitably for most all piano students, at some point we stop taking lessons. Maybe its because they've decided to focus on some other hobbies and commitments as they transition into the middle or high school years, maybe its because they're off to college. Maybe it's something else. But how can you as a piano parent continue to support the role of music in your child's life after they've ended formal lessons? 

If you are reading this blog post, I am assuming that your child is not going on to pursue a formal music degree or career. And while your job of helping them get to lessons and schedule in practice time has ended, a lot of your other contributions as a piano parent will continue to be meaningful in helping your child create space for music. 

Here are a 4 ways I recommend making space for music after formal lessons have stopped. 

Have an instrument

You might be tempted to make some extra space in the house by moving out the instrument now that lessons are done, but I'd encourage you to hold off at first. Providing an instrument at home, and a place to play when the inspiration strikes, is still one of the best ways you can support music's place in your child's life. If your piano kid is off to college, consider a digital instrument for the dorm room, or help them connect with the music department at school to learn how to schedule and access the practice rooms.

Access to sheet music

Your piano kid spent a lot of their lesson time learning the skill of reading music, which unlocks an incredible library of music to them - as long as they have access to it. Just like you shouldn't get rid of the piano right away, be sure to check in with them and save any music books they have favorites in. Maybe even leave a couple on the music stand as an invitation. 

It might also be good to consider a way to give them access to new sheet music. Digital sheet music stores like Music Notes and SheetMusicPlus are great sources for finding new sheets when you hear a song on the radio or a theme in a movie you want to play. A gift card to a local music store, or to one of these online stores, will give your kid permission to find new music, and show them that you still care about the place music holds in their life. 

And, depending on your piano kid's willingness to perform, make requests! If there's a piece you'd love to hear them play, ask if they'll learn it for an upcoming family gather, or as a birthday gift. And if they ever just can't find the right arrangement of a piece, encourage them check in with their piano teacher. One of my favorite things is to hear from former students about what they're wanting to learn, and to point them to how they might go about finding it.

Listen to music 

This is a big one while lessons are happening too. Listening to music develops our musical ear, our curiosity and fosters inspiration. Listen to lots of different genres and artists. Ask your child what music they're excited by, let them tell you about what they love. This is one of the best, and simplest, ways to create space for music. 

Attend shows 

Concerts, musicals, gigs etc. Encourage watching live music. Gift some tickets to go see a favorite artist, or invite them along to the local musical. If they're off to college, make sure they know how to find the concerts and shows the music and theater departments are putting on so they can stay connected to the arts while on campus. 

Wherever your piano kid is off to next, helping them stay connected to music that will motivate and inspire, and making sure they have a couple basic tools to play out that inspiration when it strikes will help keep the music alive after regular lessons have ended, and ensure that your piano kid continues to be a lifelong musician.