Practice Practice Practice. After teaching for 10+ years, I'm finally starting to realize that when I say that I "teach piano" what I'm really doing is "teaching how to practice." I'm going to try this year to avoid saying things like "just take this home and practice it this week, and show me what you come up with!" Instead I'm going to say something like "measures 8-12 need a round of Bug Spotting followed by a game of Metronome Madness until you can play it 3 times in a row at 92."
Practicing is a lifelong skill that is developed through mindful attention to detail. It is a process of decision making, of strategy, of careful listening and evaluation. It's a wonderful gift to give our children - the skill of how to better yourself! As parents and educators, isn't that the goal? Teach 'em to fish!
Here are a few books I have in the studio that students are welcome to page through during lessons or borrow for the week. If you'd like to grab a copy for yourself, they make great gifts!
Not Until You've Done Your Practice by Philip Johnston and David Sutton. If you don't want to spring for the Practiceopedia, this is a great option! Same great ideas, just not as detailed in the description. This is one the kids can read themselves and enjoy - there are some great graphics to complement each practice strategy. Very easy to implement today!