By Carol Cook

You want to give your child an exposure to music and an opportunity to perform.  You might love music and want to share it, or you might wish you understood more but want to give your child the advantages you never had. Whatever the case, here are 7 tips to make the most of this experience for your child.

  1. 1. Make attendance and practice a priority. 
Receiving instruction week-in and week-out ensures accountability between teacher and student and maintains the continuity and momentum of the learning experience. It is between the lessons, however, that the true investment is most fulfilled: without consistent, disciplined practice, efforts at progress from one lesson to the next are exercises in futility!
  2. Be positive about your expectations. 
Attitudes are contagious. Make the decision right now to enter into this venture with nothing but successful intentions for your child. Share your vision of success with them.
  3. Create a mutual agreement with your child and follow through. 
Gaining motivation to practice is neither easy or automatic. This is one of the invaluable benefits of studying music! Create an agreement with your child that addresses how much time will be spent practicing (ask your teacher for help with this). A mutually agreed upon practice routine should be a consistent, nonnegotiable part of a child’ s schedule.
  4. Be prepared for varying degrees of frustration. 
As soon as the newness wears off and the lessons begin to get difficult, students often experience frustration. Being committed to their success means not letting them quit out of frustration. You are in charge. Remind them of the above agreement.
  5. Encourage them to play for family and friends. A short mini concert for family and friends will go a long way in boosting confidence and pride in a student. Investing five to ten minutes as an audience member for your child will do wonders for their motivation. Offer compliments and encourage them regularly.
  6. Communicate regularly with your child’s teacher. Sit in at the beginning or end of the occasional lesson, or simply come into the store when you drop off or pick up for some face- to-face time; it is the best way to keep current on the status of their progress. Don’t hesitate to ask the teacher for help if you need clarification on any aspect of the lesson. Also, encourage your child to talk with you about their lessons. What are they working on? Did they learn something new today? Ask them to demonstrate. This kind of interaction requires a minimal time investment and will boost progress levels immensely.
  7. Help your child build their own music library. 
Building and maintaining a student’ s own music library is tangible evidence of their accomplishments! Keep in mind also that students of every instrument and of voice need variety and balance in their materials in order to experience progress and motivation. Complementing with fun and interesting music will provide added motivation, particularly if it is music they recognize.

As a music student, what guidance helped you focus and learn?  As a parent, what seemed to help your child overcome frustrations and grow musically?   Please share them in a comment.

Are you struggling with your child’s frustration over private lessons?  I’d be glad to talk to you.  Just email me!