Music Lessons and Practice Can be Hard to Stick With: Here Are 9 Tips For Making Sure Your Child is Successful in Music
This article about tips for music lessons and music practice is presented by Caleb Chapman’s Soundhouse.
If your child has just started music lessons or is interested in beginning an instrument or singing, you might find out quickly that music can be hard to stick with at first. The hours of practice can be frustrating for anyone learning. But there are some simple ways you can help your child push past those mental hurdles and really become a great musician. And they don’t need to be musically “gifted” to do so! Here are 9 tips for helping your child stick with their music lessons and enjoy them!
1. Establish a Daily Practice Routine and Follow It
Once your child starts music lessons, trying to randomly find time to squeeze in practice is a recipe for failure. First, it’s best to find a block of time for about 30-60 minutes that will fit into your child’s schedule throughout the week. The best times are when there aren’t any distractions and when your child isn’t tired. Put in the effort to identify what works best.
Make sure you are considering the other people in your home, as well. There are many devices that can help a student practice quietly – or even silently – with headphones, although some instruments might not have those capabilities. Schedule practice times either when noise isn’t going to be an issue or when headphones can be used.
2. Provide the Proper Practice Environment for Your Child
The practice area should be fairly comfortable, quiet, well lit, and free of clutter – but not so comfortable that they will fall asleep! Also, the room should be large enough to fit a music stand, chair, and any other necessary music equipment. Even something as simple as the temperature can make a difference. A comfortable student is much more likely to concentrate and have an effective practice session.
3. Make Time to Sit With Your Child the First Few Times
Don’t worry if you don’t have any musical training. The simple act of just being there can help give your child confidence and keep them motivated. Eventually, the practice will become a habit, and your involvement will no longer be required on a daily basis.
4. Provide the Proper Equipment for Success
Learning to play music for the first time is hard enough without having to deal with a faulty instrument. Beginner students are often given second-hand instruments from family or friends. While this can definitely save money, it’s important to have a tune-up performed on any used instrument. A broken instrument will certainly create more work for a student which will cause more frustration and lack of interest from your child. That doesn’t mean you need to give your child the best of the best, but a functioning instrument that is easy to play will do wonders for keeping the student engaged.
Also, remember that instruments with reeds and strings will need to have those accessories replaced frequently as part of normal maintenance for the instrument to function properly.
5. Help Your Child Practice Correctly
While you may not be a music expert, you will need to help your child recognize if she is missing notes or playing with a poor sound. Have your child practice difficult passages slowly and correctly. When young musicians repeat sections over and over again with mistakes, they may not realize that they are only getting better at playing the music incorrectly! True progress only happens when the accurate performance of the music and proper technique is repeated consistently. Perfect practice makes for perfect performances!
6. Keep Music Fun
Music is meant to be fun, and, as a parent, you can help keep it that way for your child. Can you imagine a parent punishing a child by requiring them to go practice soccer or baseball? Of course not! So why do many parents use music practice time as a punishment or part of a child’s list of chores? This is absolutely the wrong approach. Music should be fun and can be a lifelong source of enjoyment, but not when children associate negative feelings with it.
7. Expose Your Child to Music
Music is a language. Just as you would never expect to be able to learn a foreign language from a book without ever actually hearing it spoken, the same holds true for music. Your child needs to listen to music on a regular basis to have success. When they find a song they like, see if they can try and play it. That means both with the help of a great music instructor like the Best of State Award-winning ones at Caleb Chapman’s Soundhouse and on their own with the aid of the internet.
You should also encourage your child to check out different styles including pop, rock, classical, country, jazz, and more. And sharing the music you love with your child can be a great experience for both of you. With the ease of access provided by websites like YouTube, concert footage from virtually every artist of the last 50 years is readily available and often free!
8. Set Positive Expectations For Music Lessons And Practice
When you hear the first few squeaks and honks from your young musician, it is easy for both you and your child to wonder when (and if) those skills will improve. They absolutely will! Learning an instrument is definitely not easy. This realization can be disappointing for your child who might be expecting to instantly be a master musician. Most children will make it through this difficult period if they feel that they are making progress. Try to help your child recognize improvements with praise and encouragement!
9. Be Your Child’s Biggest Fan
All your child’s time in the practice room is a lot of work. Performing with other musicians for an enthusiastic audience is the payoff. So be sure to involve your child in some type of group where he will have the opportunity to interact and make music with others. A great way to do this is to join Caleb Chapman’s Soundhouse where beginner to advanced music students have the opportunity to perform music with others at their level. Your child will be able to collaborate with other committed musicians and get instruction from some of the best teachers in the country. And right now, your child can even become part of a band online!
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