101 Piano Practice Tips Review and GIVEAWAY!


Being a “Practice Coach” is a must for piano parents. Ask any teacher about their top practice students, and I bet that they will tell you about how their student’s parents, guardians, or other family members are involved in their music education. Whether it’s a parent who also plays piano and can (gently) correct wrong notes, or a parent who has never played piano, but is determined to make sure that their child practices on a regular basis – motivating and encouraging your child to practice and perform is a crucial step in the learning process.

I’m going to let you in on a secret…

Sometimes even GOOD students aren’t motivated to practice.

It’s true! Recently a fellow piano teacher  polled an online forum asking other teachers how much of their practice was self-motivated when they were children/teens. Teachers replied with a range of answers, from being totally self-motivated to rarely self-motivated. Laura Lowe released the results on her blog, you can check them out here. It’s a really interesting read!

Image by Laura Lowe's The Piano Studio Blog

Image by Laura Lowe’s The Piano Studio Blog

My answer was somewhere in the middle – there were times when I was younger that my parents probably would have loved for me to stop playing the piano. After all, Alouette at top speed repeated over and over again can be somewhat grating on the nerves. However, as a teenager I’m sure there were many times that my parents had to beg me to practice. (Thanks, Mom and Dad!)

Not sure how to be a good “Practice Coach”?

There’s an app for that. Er… I mean, an eBook! 101 Piano Practice Tips, by Tracy Capps Selle is chocked full of useful tips to get your child or teen motivated at the piano. (And I’m giving away TWO FREE codes to download this eBook!)

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Do you need help getting your kids to the keyboard? 101 Piano Practice Tips is an upbeat book full of practical tips to help your kids actually WANT to practice the piano.

If you have elementary age children, you’ll appreciate categories such as “Creating a Great Environment” and “How to Encourage Good Quality Practice.”

If you’re the parent of a teenager, you’ll discover tips on how to help older students. There’s even a section for what to do if your child wants to quit taking piano lessons.

Veteran piano teacher, Tracy Selle, has written a must-have resource for parents who want creative and FUN ideas to get their kids to the keyboard!

This is a perfect resource for any parent or music teacher who is looking for creative ways to get your student to the piano bench.

Here are a few things that I really love about 101 Piano Practice Tips:

  1. It’s an eBook! I know I’m a bit new to the world of eBooks, but I love how I’m able to access this on my computer, iPad, or smart phone (Galaxy S3 if you’re wondering.) All you have to do is download the free Kindle Reading App on your device and you’re ready to go.
  2. The Tips are Organized into Easy-to-Use Sections. Looking for an instant practice idea? Check out the “Top Ten Things You Can Do Right Now.” Trying to motivate a student who is down on their abilities? Check out “Attitude is Everything.” There are even sections that highlight how a student can continue to practice outside of the practice room – including links to lots of great music apps.
  3. Tracy is Super Creative. The tips in this e-book will help you think outside of the practice box. Are you tired of fighting against students who say they don’t want to practice? Tracy has some fantastic ideas to help avoid arguments. She helps make practicing fun and interesting by suggesting unique ways to get your student excited to get to the piano bench. I particularly love her idea of the “practice hat”!
  4. You Can’t Beat the Price. This e-book is available for only $2.99. There are 102 tips (yes, there’s a bonus one at the end!), which means you are paying $0.03 per tip. Add in the great 10% discount codes that Tracy includes for a couple of resources, and this is a fantastic bargain.

Here are a few of my favorite tips:

Tip #32: You might want to implement a “practice before electronics” rule. Or, require practice before your kids head outside to play. One word of caution: if you think your children will rush through their practice unfocused, it’s better to use a different system, because the quality of practice is important.

Tip #43: Encourage your children to count out loud. Most teachers will tell students when they should do this, but typically students ignore that advice because they feel silly. Counting out loud is a wonderful way to master tricky rhythm.

Tip #65: Teens don’t like to be micro-managed, and yet they often need it! If your children are older, it might be time to work on transferring practice responsibility. A good way to accomplish this is to be “hands off” and still give them some subtle reminders. One idea is to take an index card and write the days of the week on it. Tell them that they need to practice 4 days that week and have them mark off the days when they practice. It’s their responsibility to reminder. Make sure you put the card in a place where your kids will see it every day. Maybe their desk, or tape it on the mirror in the bathroom. If they do this for a month or so with success, reward them! Most teens love iTunes gift cards.

101 Piano Practice Tips Giveaway (EXPIRED)


In celebration of the start of the 2014 school year, Sara’s Music Studio will be giving away TWO FREE download codes for 101 Piano Practice Tips! All you need is a smart phone, tablet, iDevice, or computer where you can use the free Kindle app. The winners will be announced on the blog on Tuesday, September 2nd!

To enter the giveaway, just follow the steps below. You can enter this Giveaway more than once! You must leave a comment for each entry in order for it to count. All comments are screened, so it might take an hour or two for your comment to show up. Here’s how you can enter:

  1. Comment below with your favorite piano practice tip! How do you practice effectively? How do motivate your student(s) to practice at home?
  2. Share our Keep Calm and Make Music T-Shirt! We’re holding a fundraiser over the next couple of weeks, and we need to sell 50 t-shirts before Sept. 9th! Share this link on your Facebook or Twitter and leave a comment letting us know that you shared.
  3. Subscribe to our blog! Scroll up to subscribe via email (link at top of page) or RSS and leave a comment below letting us know.

Thanks for reading, and good luck!!

Disclosure: Sara’s Music Studio received a complimentary copy of this e-book. This blog is often approached by writers or creators of books and apps, and I only choose to review products that I honestly believe will be helpful to my students or other teachers.

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  • by Jeannie Posted August 28, 2014 10:42 am

    This year I am using Jennifox’s Incentive Program — Reach Beyond the Stars.

  • by Lori Posted August 28, 2014 10:44 am

    I am already a subscriber to the blog.

  • by Lori Posted August 28, 2014 10:50 am

    I put specific instructions of what needs to be accomplished each practice day. For example, day 1 might say “LH (left hand) alone, counting aloud, 3x PIAR (Perfectly in a row)”. When the student accomplished that task they are done practicing that piece for the day. Students know exactly what to do and when they are done. It works!

  • by Rachel Posted August 28, 2014 10:53 am

    My favorite practice tip is to get a set routine. Kids remember so much better if their practice time is at the same time everyday! And also, practice incentives work wonders!

  • by Rachel Posted August 28, 2014 10:54 am

    I subscribed to your blog. I love it!

  • by Laura Posted August 28, 2014 10:58 am

    Great review, and thanks for the mention of my blog post! I like to use incentive programs that become studio themes for the whole year. If you visit my blog, be sure to check out my Findin’ Buried Treasure incentive program. I don’t ask students to log practice time or minutes, so the program rewards for completing goals. I’ve shared your Tshirt on FB and subscribe to your feed via NetVibes.

  • by Nicole B Posted August 28, 2014 11:14 am

    I have a five-minutes-piano then five-minute-iPad deal with my son. Wow, did he get a lot of practicing in this summer! Some days he was on the iPad for two hours and I just had to reassure myself that meant he had two hours of piano practice that day already! 🙂

  • by Nicole B Posted August 28, 2014 11:15 am

    Signed up for your blog too. Love to learn more practice tips for my students!

  • by Anne Marie Archibald Posted August 28, 2014 12:18 pm

    For every week the student practices 5 times they get a sticker. Once 5 stickers are collected they get a prize.

  • by Janice Martin Posted August 28, 2014 1:35 pm

    For the first time in over 20 years of teaching, I am not keeping track of hours and minutes practiced as a prize incentive. Instead, I have a point system based on lesson preparedness! I have already seen great results in one week from some students paying better attention to what pieces to work on and what in particular to focus on in each piece. (And now they cannot lie about their practice times to get higher on the chart!)

  • by Lavinia Livingston Posted August 28, 2014 2:01 pm

    Practice motive: 5 M&M’s or marbles or grapes, or whatever, on one side of the piano. For each perfect repetition of a rough spot or whole piece, move the M&M’s/grapes to the other side of the piano. When all are on the other side, eat them. I really enjoy my subscription to this blog.

  • by Lucia Posted August 28, 2014 2:13 pm

    I’ve thrown timed practice out the window! And now give specific practice goals. I like to emphasize different practice strategies to solve the particular problem.

  • by Ginger Storts Posted August 28, 2014 4:34 pm

    When my own son reached the age when he didn’t want me reminding him to practice, I would ask him when he was going to practice. If I didn’t hear violin music at said hour, I would just remind him of the time. It worked! I now recommend this to my piano parents. 🙂

  • by Heidi N Posted August 28, 2014 5:19 pm

    I like turning practice into a game with a reward at the end. For my son who loves sports, dividing the piece into small sections and having him play each section 3,5 or 7 times (depending upon the difficulty) helps him stay focussed. If he plays without errors (even if the tempo is slow) he “scores a touchdown”. If he makes a mistake, his opponent “scores.” If he wins the “game” he moves on to another section & maybe even gets a small treat (m&m). The m&m game mentioned by Lucia was my favorite practice strategy even as a college student. I love chocolate!

  • by Geri M Posted August 28, 2014 8:42 pm

    I like to use practice incentives. This year I am using a version of the “Earn a Composer Card” on Laura Lowe’s website. (Thanks for the idea!)

  • by Geri M Posted August 28, 2014 8:44 pm

    I just subscribed to your blog. This practice ebook looks great!

  • by Dianne C Posted August 28, 2014 9:37 pm

    I too am already subscribed and love great new ideas. I want to move away from earned mins for practice and have found a few good ideas already.

  • by Shirley Posted August 29, 2014 1:45 am

    Last year I used Musikopoly and tracked practice times but this year I purchased Laura Lowe’s “Findin’ Buried Treasure” which rewards performance at the lesson. I think this will be very motivating and result in more student buy-in. I need to find your blog and sign up, too.

    • by Sara @ Sara’s Music Studio Posted September 2, 2014 9:27 am

      Congratulations, Shirley! You were selected as one of our winners. Please contact me at info@sarasmusicstudio.com to claim your eBook code 🙂

  • by beeth Posted August 29, 2014 2:24 am

    I recommend that the parents practice or share that moment with them. They will love to practice if they know that somebody is listening.

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  • by Robyn Posted August 29, 2014 6:21 pm

    Great giveaway! I’d love this book :). My fav practice tip is to video my students and let them watch themselves- not only do they discover what needs “fixed” they also work harder to get a perfect recording for next time!

  • by Sue Posted August 29, 2014 10:57 pm

    I have a guitar chord stamp that I use to stamp a box on each song. It has 5 boxes across and five down. The students practice 5 days and each song-5 times. It’s like a to-do list that they check off and it works great!

  • by Karen T Posted August 31, 2014 1:30 pm

    It is hard for most students to practice. It’s lonely and not fun. I find a lot depends on the student wanting to practice. You can use incentives, which I do, but the student has to want to do it to be successful.

  • by Teresa Posted August 31, 2014 11:00 pm

    In the fall, I do a Talent Show for my students. Any song the student wants to play — according to the points the student receives on the score card — everyone gets a score card — is how many prizes the student gets. I start buying little $1 prizes right after Christmas so there are always lots and lots of prizes and of course, candy

  • by Walter Posted September 1, 2014 9:08 am

    I already subscribe

  • by Walter Posted September 1, 2014 9:11 am

    I am using Reach Beyond The Stars this year. The studio is decorated with planets and stars.

  • by Rhoda Posted September 1, 2014 10:15 am

    I don’t ask if they have practiced — I listen to the piece and if they do good, I comment, “Oh, you did really well. You must have practiced.” Otherwise I say, “Oops, you forgot about this song, huh?” Good comments from me mean they get a pencil, an eraser, candy, some little prize.

  • by Ames Posted September 1, 2014 2:18 pm

    I subscribe in my feedly reader 🙂

    • by Sara @ Sara’s Music Studio Posted September 2, 2014 9:27 am

      Congratulations, Ames! You were selected as one of our winners. Please contact me at info@sarasmusicstudio.com to claim your eBook code 🙂

  • by Ames Posted September 1, 2014 2:19 pm

    I always have some kind of studio incentive going and there are rewards for practice quality this year!

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