Thursday, August 9, 2012

Behind Every Successful Music Student Is a Devoted Parent

Behind Every Successful Music Student
Is a Devoted Parent:
How to Guide Your Child on His Musical Journey
by Michelle Alten

Musical Notes For Parents:   

1. Help your student stay motivated by being positive and supportive.
2. Set a pattern with a specific practice time and stay with it.
3. Find a place and time for your child to practice where she won’t disturb the family.
4. Discuss with your instructor an appropriate amount of time for your child to practice and let your child know your expectations.
5. Show your child that you find music enjoyable and that it is a priority for your family.
6. When you hear your child making progress, let her know.  Your encouragement will go a long way.
    The day my child brought home his cello and played his first note, I was elated.  The thought that we might have a future musician in the family was tantalizing.  But it didn’t take long to realize that there is a lot to helping a young musician launch and stay committed to his musical experience.  Music students are not just born loving to practice and ready to work hard at music.  Like every great musician, each successful music student has a devoted parent behind the scenes helping him to reach his goals. 

    Most of us assume that if a child chooses an instrument that he or she will naturally want to practice.  I have spoken with parents of enthusiastic and outstanding music students, as well as parents of reluctant young musicians.  What I learned is that neither group is eager to pull out their instrument and devote time to practicing.  Kids don’t like to practice, and that’s that.  So the idea of placing children in charge of making decisions about practicing is unlikely to succeed.  Clearly another tactic is needed. 

    Robert Wilson, owner and director of the Bellevue School of Music, has suggestions for parents of young instrumentalists who wish to help their child succeed.  “It is important from the beginning for parents to help their child establish a practice pattern,” Wilson explains.  “The family should choose a daily practice time and stay with it.”  When children know when they will practice each day, he points out, it is easier for them to shift from other activities to playing their instrument.