Photo by Simone Secci on Unsplash. 

As time allows during a lesson I find asking questions about a student’s performance helpful to determine their perception and how engaged they are in listening. Students who have parents or other siblings that play piano might find it stressful to receive correction from family members. Instructing these members to ask questions I believe can help. The challenge is to ask questions that lead to the student’s discovering what needs correction. Instead of being told they are wrong about some aspect of their practice, the self-discovery of answering the question guides them into what to practice next.

For instance, if the student was not acknowledging the dynamics in their performance, you could ask, "How well did you observe the dynamics?" If they say “I don't know?”, ask them to play again and pay attention to dynamics. Then afterwards ask the question again.  Students might begin to pick up that any question points to an issue. I like to ask about aspects of the performance that were good as well. Mixing the type of questions keeps them from anticipating that I am always trying to correct and that I am more interested in what they are perceiving while playing. If a student says there was something that needed correction when there was no issue at all, it will alert you to how attentive they are to details of performance. If parents or siblings cannot get the answer they are looking for in the self-assessment, then they should ask a different question to point to the issue at hand.