As a music school we interact with parents often. It is important for us to let the parents know how their child is doing, as most of the time the progress is slow enough and abstract enough that a parent who doesn’t study music may not be able to tell how much progress has been made. We try to be very communicative with the parents about how they can help their child’s music education. However, as the parent of a music student, we’re sure you’re curious how to help your child get the most out of their lessons. Here are some tips to help your child excel in music lessons.
Encourage regular practice
When someone is learning to read and write and play music, they are learning a new language, and a complex one at that! Like any new language, if a student is not looking at their vocabulary every day, it will be more and more difficult to remember and make progress. Vocabulary for a new music student isn’t just the latin words we use to describe music like forte, legato, accelerando or crescendo. There are also symbols, different rhythmic notations and their placement on the staff. It is a complex language and to understand it, a student needs to look at it daily!
Consistent practice is essential for mastering an instrument or singing. Though each child progresses differently, and your child’s teacher should be able to give a more accurate practice schedule according to their needs and goals, to learn the language of music, a student must practice every day for at least 15-20 minutes. Even if they do not play their instrument, but they spend a bit of time before bed looking at their music and being quizzed on the note names and rhythms, it will keep their skills from regressing.
Make practice fun
Try to make practice sessions fun by finding creative ways to practice, such as playing games, using practice apps, or practicing with friends. This will help your child stay motivated and engaged.
If your child is unmotivated, it may be that they are lacking enjoyment while they practice or play! Music is not meant to be competitive or tortuous. Enough other things in life ensure we will go through struggle. Music is supposed to sooth us, bring us comfort. So if it has lost its fun, talk to the teacher. See about assigning repertoire that is maybe a little more familiar, or in a different genre. Perhaps they need to play some Coldplay on the sax, or some Adele on the violin! Throwing in one song from the popular or rock genre can make a world of difference for a student struggling to connect to their instrument.
Consistency is key
When learning an instrument, we are not attempting to become the very best ever. We are committing to a life-long journey of constant improvement and development. That constant seeking of slow and steady progress is what truly makes a master. We are hoping to always increase our understanding of music, technique, and expression. For this reason, consistency is key.
Of course everyone takes vacations or need to reschedule a lesson every once in a while, but try not to let your child take significant time away from their instrument. Taking a year off or a summer off is only going to make it more difficult for the student to improve when they return to the instrument. It takes real time to make improvements and progress while learning an art form. An instrument cannot be properly learned if there are giant gaps in the student’s learning, especially early in their knowledge of the instrument. If you’re going on a vacation, try to set up time for your child to practice, or even just read through their music without their instrument.
Practice makes permanent
Contrary to popular belief “Practice makes Perfect”, practice helps us to work through problem areas of our study and create habits. Like any habit, these can be good or bad habits. Practice doesn’t always make perfect, but it does make permanent.
Be sure your child is creating healthy study habits. They should be focused and conscious while practicing. If they aren’t, try breathing with them, drinking some water, or taking a short dance break, then refocusing them on the small tasks in the music.
Make sure they aren’t using negative self talk in their practice. Self deprecation is never helpful to learning. We need to be gentle and patient with ourselves as we learn, or else it becomes more about stress than about learning. Help your child to see this by encouraging them with patience and positive reinforcement.
Let your child teach you
One of the best ways to solidify what we have learned is to teach it to others. By becoming the student yourself and asking your child to teach you what they learned in their lesson that day, you can actual help them to remember and deeper their understanding of the topic. Having them explain things in their own words makes them conceptualize the idea in their mind first, which is a main part of comprehension and long-term memory.
Not to mention, this empowers your child to feel good about their knowledge and confident in the sharing of knowledge with others. Knowledge is power!
Student-teacher relationship matters
Make sure the chemistry between your child and their teacher is good. Your child is going to learn the best in a structured lesson, where they feel physically and emotionally safe, able to make mistakes and be corrected without shaming, and able to express their true personality and have it received well by the teacher. If they are not getting along, it could be that the teacher is brilliant and the student is brilliant but they aren’t a good match for one another, and that’s ok! That’s why we offer a free trial lesson to new student, giving the students and teachers a chance to see if they are a good match. Some people just don’t match up well, or did for a period of time and now they don’t. If you’ve tried everything and it just isn’t working, it may be that your child needs a new teacher. That’s ok! Talk to us and see if you can try any other teachers or even a different instrument! Change is always good, as it brings new challenges that open our minds and improve our skills.
Attend performances and concerts
Attending concerts and performances can inspire your child and help them develop a deeper appreciation for music. Take your child to live performances and encourage them to listen to a variety of musical genres.
Participating in regular recitals at the school is even better. OC Musica offers numerous performance opportunities for its students during the year.
- Wednesday concerts
- Musical evenings for adult students
- Annual recitals
Please check this page for performance videos.
Working with a qualified teacher
Working with a qualified music teacher can make a significant difference in your child’s musical development. OC Musica’s teachers are experienced in teaching children and can provide personalized instruction tailored to your child’s needs and interests.
Provide the necessary equipment
Make sure your child has access to a quality instrument or equipment and that it is in good working condition. This will help your child develop proper technique and avoid frustration.
Last but not least, stay involved in your child’s music education by attending lessons, asking your child about their progress, and encouraging them to participate in musical activities outside of lessons, such as joining a band, orchestra or choir.