Music lessons are an investment of both time and money; there’s no denying it. It can be really frustrating as a parent to feel like those two very precious things are being wasted: maybe you’re not seeing any real progress in ability; maybe there’s no practice happening at home; maybe your child doesn’t like the music they’re learning.
All of the above (along with many others) are reasons people quit music lessons. After all, why do something if it’s not working?
However, there are three simple changes that you as a parent can make to turn music lessons into an activity that will have life-changing results.
- Lesson Chat. Check in with your child’s teacher at every lesson. Being on the same page as your music teacher is crucial to seeing progress. Make sure you let them know of any relevant circumstances going on – e.g. your child’s upcoming school production, and the impending lack of practice that will result in. This information will really help your teacher know how to best approach upcoming lessons. Likewise, having a quick catch-up gives your teacher an opportunity to let you know of any issues your child may be having with a piece, which means you’ll be prepared to help them at home if necessary. And with that….
- Practice Makes Perfect! Without practice, you’re not going to see progress. This doesn’t mean you have to make your child sit at the piano for two hours a day playing endless scales, but it does mean you need to be their encourager! If you support them and help them to develop a habit of regularly completing the practice tasks given in their lesson, their musical journey will be hugely benefited. Most five-year-olds aren’t going to pick this habit up on their own, so your help is vital! Praise them for their achievements, and help them out when practice is proving confusing or difficult.
- Music Every Day. There’s so much music in the world to experience, and no way to fit it into a 30-minute lesson every week. If your child hears and sees music-making regularly, it will help hugely with their musicality and enjoyment of making music. If playing “Twinkle, Twinkle” over and over again is not giving them much inspiration, hop on YouTube and find the original Mozart Variations to play to them. Experiencing a live orchestral concert is something that few children have nowadays, but a quick Google search will bring up many upcoming free concerts that can be made into a family outing.
This list is by no means exhaustive, but those three tips will go a long way to making your lessons more fun and effective. A supportive parent makes a huge difference to a child’s success in music, and you have a fun and highly rewarding role to play!