(aka Please Bring Your Music Bag to Your Lesson! ☺)
We’ve all heard a million times “oh, I took a musical instrument when I was a child, and I wish my parents made me stick with it!”. Now as parents, we are finding that helping your child stick with something is easier said than done. As a parent AND a music teacher, I feel your pain – my children are no different! But, here are a couple strategies I wanted to share with you to help you and your child succeed with their lessons.
- Parents need to see music as a core subject. Music is just as an important part of a child’s education (and life!) as math and English. As a parent, you’ve heard about the tons of studies showing how powerful it is for a child’s brain development and also as an amazing emotional outlet – don’t let music lessons be a seasonal activity or the student will lose their momentum and interest.
- Choose an instrument that the child would like to play and suits your child’s physicality/personality. It can’t be what the parent wants them to play, or the passion is not there and the child will burn out. Good news is, even if you start on an instrument here at The Music Studio, it doesn’t mean you can’t try several until your child finds one they can settle into and love. Please come see us at the Front Desk if you’d like to try a trial lesson in another instrument.
- Make sure your child and their teacher mesh. This is so vitally important to continued success. We all remember with fond memories our favorite teachers. Even if you change your teacher year to year, please make sure your child is enjoying their teacher, and if not, let us know. We have a huge staff of personalities to match your child’s with and there’s never hurt feelings with a teacher change as the teachers know how important this is. We all just want the student’s success.
- Set up a routine 10-minute practice time, ideally 5 times a week. We are big fans of the “ten-minute rule” around here, and many times 10 minutes turns into twenty before you know it! Even if the student can get in their “10 minutes” three times a week, that is incredibly helpful to get them on their way to furthering their instrument. And 10 minutes of practice does not get in the way of every child’s other activities!
- Have your student practice their instrument in a relatively quiet place, with minimal distractions. Hopefully you can find a place in your home for a semi/permanent place to practice, with proper lighting, pencils, and in a place where parents can hear and praise. Please don’t relegate your child’s practicing to the basement unless it’s a part of the house that your child enjoys going. Often children are afraid to be alone, or it’s an area of the house not used frequently, and I found when I taught children where their piano was located in the basement, they were less apt to practice.
- Encourage them to perform for you, grandparents, or at one of our performance opportunities during the year. It’s great to have children perform pieces that they have already mastered, and our teachers here at TMS will make sure they have fun pieces to choose from so your student can start to build a repertoire. Students will feel pride in being able to perform, whether for family, at school, or at one of our Open Mic Nights or recitals during the year.
Every child (or adult) has some degree of musical talent. Some people come about “talent” more naturally than others, but at the end of the day, hard work beats natural talent every time. Sure, there are some folks who can pick up an instrument and sound decent immediately, but they will hit a wall later and have to work hard to overcome it. Playing a musical instrument is a craft that, if practiced correctly, is something that ALL students (children or adults) can find success in.