Date
21 September 2017
Forcing children to concentrate and extend their practice time on the piano will not benefit them in the long run. Photo: Oliver Quinlan/Flickr
Forcing children to concentrate and extend their practice time on the piano will not benefit them in the long run. Photo: Oliver Quinlan/Flickr

Hiring a piano tutor for your kid may just be a waste of money

Would you pay HK$10,000 (US$1,290) a month to help your child practice piano?

Well, some parents in Hong Kong are doing just that because they want their children to excel in their piano lessons.

But while the intention is admirable, such excessive guidance may not be helpful to their kids and may even produce negative results, Sky Post reported on Friday.

Often referred to as “monster parents”, these dads and moms push their children to be the best in everything they do, especially in school.

But in the case of piano lessons, for example, experts warn that hiring a tutor on top of the regular piano teacher would only confuse the child as it would result in having two kinds of instructions and styles.

Parents who post ads to look for tutors for their children say they cannot play the piano themselves so it’s hard for them to know how their kids are doing without getting additional help.

Piano teacher Chan Wing-yee said the demand for teaching assistants soars when piano exams are approaching. Chan said a friend of hers earned up to HK$15,000 by working one to two hours a day for 20 days as a piano assistant.

“As long as it could help raise the child’s score in the piano examination by eight to 10 points, parents would be very willing to spend,” Chan said.

But another piano teacher said allowing children to practice by themselves will lead to better results than hiring an assistant to look over their shoulder and correct their mistakes.

Renowned pianist Colleen Lee said the average attention span of a three-year-old child is around 30 minutes, and forcing them to concentrate and extend their practice time will not benefit them in the long run.

Lee suggested that children be allowed to explore their interest in different musical instruments before the age of three, adding that it’s not too late for them to start learning an instrument when they go to primary school.

Fanny Chung, a lecturer in early childhood education at the Hong Kong Baptist University, said learning a musical instrument should not be linked to admission into a famous school but a means to cultivate the children’s skills and musicianship.

Chung suggested that parents should not ask their children to extend their practice by more than 25 minutes and they should be allowed to take a short break after each session. The ideal length of each practice should fall between 30 and 45 minutes.

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