As a young musician I loved to goof off on the piano. It gave me great joy to make up my own pieces and experiment with different sounds. And I was lucky enough that my parents understood that this was part of my creative and learning processes. Sometimes it's easy to forget the importance of goofing off with music. Thanks to The Piano Parent Podcast (I encourage you to listen!) for this great post about what she calls "doodling" on the piano. The link to this episode is here
Shelley Davis, the creator and the voice on the Piano Parent Podcast suggests that parents let their children doodle around on the piano during their practice sessions. Doing this can help with creativity (making up ones one piece) and accidentally finding connections to familiar pieces helps to make further connections to the piano.
Shelley also notes that doing this can foster a greater sense of listening, process written music using the "hear first, then see" principle. Doodling gives students an advantage for technical exercises as they learn to move their hands with more efficiency when they are not encumbered with rules.
My mom used to play with me, not often but sometimes we'd jam. Greg and I have been known to jam out from time to time too - playing with your parent can be a great experience. Let your child lead the way though - they tell YOU what to play.
Doodling, or goofing off can make the instrument and practice time more meaningful to a student who maybe going through some difficulty with a piece, having a tough time sitting and following a practice plan - so use it as part of a practice. It's a great way to start or end a practice session!