As a parent of a young musician it can be challenging to know how to best support a child in their studies. A situation in which they want to practice and are excited about learning is ideal, but this of course is not always reality. How do we push our kids towards music without pushing them away? Read on to discover the top methods to encourage your child’s musical journey!
A Consistent Practice Time and Place
Consistency is a fantastic way to keep the ball rolling with children, just like it is with adults! Having a constant practice time and place in the house for music is a great way to maintain progress.
Children can have a difficult time remembering concepts over the week that passes by between their lessons. Having a dedicated music time for even 20 minutes twice a week can keep new information fresh in their minds and fingers!
If their music practice time is held weekly on the same day at the same time, it will become something they look forward to and understand to be part of their routine. This creates an atmosphere conducive to focus and learning, as opposed to randomly imposing a practice which can feel like homework!
Setting Realistic and Achievable Goals
Every child is unique and develops at their own pace. There is no standard for “where a child should be for their age”. Especially when it comes to music, which has multiple factors including culture, natural disposition, family, motor skills and focus.
As adults we can become discouraged when we set goals that are too far away to achieve. Then, because we can’t see progress we end up prematurely quitting. It’s like creating a mountain to climb rather than working on baby steps. The same goes for children!
As parents and teachers it is best to set realistic and achievable goals in order to grow the confidence of the student. If a child becomes confident in their musical abilities there is a much greater chance that they will enjoy and stick with it for the long haul.
Goals can be as simple as completing one page of their piano book per week, or memorizing a song they really enjoyed learning.
Communication With The Teacher
Having the ability to communicate with your child’s teacher is a great way to know what is and isn’t working. While not necessary every single lesson, it is a good idea to check in once and a while. This keeps everyone on the same page!
Kids are more clever than we sometimes think, and have be known to pull the famous trick of telling their parents that they have no homework! Or they simply can’t remember what was asked of them for the week. Checking in can help prevent this.
Parents can also check their Google Folder that the school shares! This has become a great communication tool for us. Teachers write out the homework and can even add pictures and links to clearly show the student what is expected of them. (Scroll down a bit further for a mini tutorial on how to use our Google Drive folders).
Handling Practice Opposition
Children can be very adamant when they don’t want to do something, and trying to force a behaviour can often backfire. Instead of creating a battle around the idea of practicing, it is a better idea to try to find out what the root cause of the issue is, especially if their attitude has suddenly changed.
Communicating with their teacher and working out a short conversation can be a great idea, as it allows for the child to be a part of the conversation.
Some questions to ask can include “Is the music you’re learning right now too hard?” “Are there any songs that you like that you would want to learn?” “Do you feel bored?”
It is a fact that most kids have difficulty with attention. A fantastic way to rekindle their interest is to simply vary the structure of their lesson and practice, taking some time to focus on activities such as rhythm clapping, instrument naming, and listening games. Changing the stimulus keeps music fresh and exciting, as well as providing a greater context and knowledge to the world of music as a whole!
The Right Amount of Parent Involvement
A common question parents have is “how involved should we be in our child’s practice”.
This is a beautiful question, but unfortunately one without a standard answer!
The amount of involvement required varies from student to student, depending on their attention span, independence, personality and experience.
Some students can benefit from a parent sitting beside them and helping them work through the weeks material, while others will dislike this approach.
Communicating with the teacher to know what the best route to take is the safest way to go.
Using Our Google Drive Folders
Utilizing technology to assist in our students’ education is something we take great pride in. For just about a year now we have been using Google Drive folders as a way to streamline communication between students and teachers in a safe and easily accessible way.
Teachers are able to write out the students homework, as well as attach PDF’s, links and pictures from the lesson into the students own private folder. This reduces clutter at home, and also eliminates the risk of music and instructions being lost.
Students and parents can access the folder via their own private link. This link is sent after registration in the welcome email! If you are having trouble finding it please reach out to the school, either by phone or email, and we will be happy to resend it!
Folders are a clean and clear way to follow up with your child’s progress!
Music education is a process that takes time to refine. Above all else, allowing each student to be the major part of their own learning journey is the best way to create success!