How to help your child succeed at musicLanglois Music
When it comes to learning an instrument, there is no secret trick or short cut that beats patience, routine, and practice. Can it be boring? Yes. Is it the best way to succeed at any instrument? Yes.
If you have a child taking music lessons, it can be frustrating to get them to do the work needed for success. You are investing a lot of money and time into their musical development and want to see the best results possible but the constant struggle of getting your child to practice can be daunting at times. So, how do you get them to do their music lesson homework?
- Make sure their instrument is easily accessible throughout the week between lessons. Purchase an instrument stand and take the instrument out of its case as soon as you return home from lessons.
- Don’t call it practice. Something as simple as saying, “let’s play guitar” can have a much better reaction from a young student than, “time for practice.”
- Schedule daily “play” time. If it is a part of your child’s daily routine it will be much easier to develop the habit of practicing between lessons.
- Read your child’s practice book to see exactly what they need to be working on and join them in the practice. If your teacher doesn’t write down homework assignments, purchase a practice log and request assignments from your teacher.
- Learn with them. Whether you play an instrument or not, sit down with them and have them teach you a new song or technique. If a student feels like they have knowledge to share, it excites them and will encourage more engagement in lessons and in practice.
- Talk to their teachers. If you see your child struggling with a concept, take the first few minutes of their lesson to chat with their teacher. Have the teacher explain to you what they’re looking for so you can help your child at home. Being in contact with your child’s instructor is very valuable and will make the learning process better for everyone involved.
- Work that social media! Take videos of your children practicing at home and send them to grandma or post them on Facebook. Positive reinforcement from your extended family and friends can go a long way to boost confidence and interest in performance.
- Don’t make it a punishment or a chore. This is a hard one but it’s also very common. Though telling your child, “you can play video games after you practice 20 minutes” may get them to play their instrument for 20 minutes, it won’t necessarily be useful or productive and often has an adverse effect. Instead, as stated above, make practice time a normal part of your day and support their improvement with positive feedback after the fact, not a promise of positive outcome before.
- Help set your child’s expectations. This is not a quick or easy process your child is taking on. If things are moving slowly, remind them that it’s normal, they’re doing fine, and that none of the world’s best musicians had it all figured out after a few lessons. Further, if you think progress is moving a little slowly, discuss with their instructor how things are going and how the pace of development is. They are the experts.
Music is supposed to be fun. They don’t say “working the guitar” they say “playing the guitar” so it’s important to stay positive and encouraging in the first few months of lessons when things seem the least positive and encouraging. If things aren’t going smoothly, your teacher can recommend many different aides and techniques to jump start things. They’ve seen it all, heard it all, and tried it all and will always be your best resource when it comes to your child’s improvement as a musician.