As a parent or caregiver of a younger musician, you might be wondering how best to support your child’s music education in the best way possible. As with other elements of a child’s development, having a degree of involvement will help the child progress and feel supported during his or her musical development. Taking lessons from a great teacher is the first step, but what will determine how successful your child grows in music will largely depend on what happens in between music lessons. No matter if your child is taking music lessons online or in person, this blog will offer some suggestions that when followed will allow your child to grow his or her music skills.
Many times we hear that the start of a plan is making a list or writing down goals. This is true to when it comes to music practice. During a busy schedule, it can be tricky finding the time to get together and practice with your child, but consistency is key here. If your child only has 20 minutes three or four times a week to practice, it is better than not practicing at all. Put the practice sessions in your calendar. Having a calendar on the fridge provides a great reminder of what the schedule is and since going into the kitchen is an everyday activity, it’s the perfect place to display the schedule. While on the topic of consistency, having a dedicated space to practice is also great for keeping things organized and giving your child a visual indication that it’s now time to practice. For the younger children, having them put a sticker on the schedule when a practice session is complete provides a reward for doing a good job.
You don’t have to be an expert to support your child during music practice. Often an adult might feel that he or she is “not musically inclined”, but there are simple steps at the beginning stages of every instrument that can be followed in order to give your child some support. Make sure you ask your child’s music teacher what to look for when it comes to posture so that physically good habits can be reinforced. Going slow and steady is always a good thing. In the beginning there usually aren’t too many notes at once, so get to know what fingering to use for specific notes, or how to tell if you are on pitch for specific notes. Your music teacher likely has a few apps or tools that can help you. If you are completely stuck, record your child’s music lessons and listen back, paying attention to specific rhythms, tempos, or any other information that will help you confirm that your child is on track to musical success.
In a previous blog entitled ‘How To Listen To Music’ we explored the difference between passive and active listening. When possible, record an exercise or get the audio track of the piece of music your child is working on. Then, whenever there is an opportunity to listen to the exercise or audio track, put it on in the background. This could be when you’re in the car, preparing dinner, or putting your child to bed. By passively listening, your child will be able to get a sense of what an exercise or piece of music sounds like. When it comes time to play the exercise or music, there will be a sense of familiarity.
Most teachers will be used to having a dictation book, either physically or electronically, to take notes, write out key takeaways of the lessons, keep track of short-term and long-term developments, and as a means to communicate in writing with the parent. This can also be done for practice sessions. Keep track of what exercise or music was practiced during each session. Take note of the tempo that your child was able to play cleanly. Over time you will see that the tempo marking goes up, giving a sense of success and encouragement that with practice, development happens. Going from quarter note equals 60 to quarter note equals 62 may not seem like a big difference, but going from 60 to 62 is a progression and exciting to the young music student
Now that you are aware of these tools and strategies, what else can you do to help your journey to becoming the musician you want to be? If you are wondering if online music lessons really work check out THIS BLOG and CONTACT US for private online music lessons to fast charge your progress on any instrument.