The benefits of sibling competition – a piano teachers tool

I absolutely love teaching siblings. When I first started teaching, I thought siblings were a sensitive issue and that I should be careful not to stir up any competition between them but the more I grow and learn as a teacher, I realize that your younger sister or older brother can be the BEST practice motivator. I typically get siblings different method books so they can’t compare themselves to each other, but not always. More often then not, I’ve seen positive competition when one student is just a song ahead of the other. Siblings who are constantly trying to “one up” the other tend to practice more so they get ahead and get to their giant rainbow sticker quicker. As long as each child gets attention equally as often for pulling ahead, then everyone is happy. This type of competition is good specifically for 2 students who are similar in ability and potential. If one is a slower learner or more sensitive, then keep them completely independent. A technique I ,very carefully, use in that scenario is to have the older student help the younger one during the week. Teaching kids to help teach their siblings is not only a huge motivation boost, but so darn cute to watch!

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