TIPS FOR PARENTS
Aim to instill a sense of routine by timetabling a regular practice time for your child as this will result in making practice a part of every day life.
Keep in mind that some students progress better by splitting practice into two shorter sessions per day. ie morning and afternoon. Try to prioritise your child's practice and avoid conflicts with other activities. It is recommended that at least 5 good quality practice sessions per week are achieved.
One of the greatest forms of support for your child is through validation and praise. If your child's enthusiasm wains or they seem a little frustrated, ask them to play for you. Take the time to listen appreciatively, and compliment them on their efforts. Encourage your child to play for others, but never force them if they do not want to.
Letting your child know that the quality of his or her daily practice has been noticed is a great way to give them encouragement and motivation.
Children's musical appreciation and tastes are greatly influenced by the environment in which they are immersed. Maintaining a healthy exposure to a broad scope of music and musical styles is important in developing a child who grows to appreciate and enjoy an eclectic range of art and culture. Where possible, expose your child to live performance as often as you can. Events such as recitals, musicals, opera and theater all contribute towards developing an appreciation of the arts well into adulthood.
Playing a broad range of CD'c in the car is a great yet simple way to introduce your child to a wealth of musical styles. Encouraging them to sing along and notice various elements within the music will also help to develop a heightened musical awareness and artistic appreciation.
EXPOSURE TO MUSIC
The key to supporting your child's musical journey is through good communication with the teacher. As part of the studio policy it is a requirement that parents are in attendance at the lesson so this provides an ideal opportunity to take notes and ask any questions you may have.
HOW YOU FIT IN
Always keep in mind that your support is a key element in your child's success with piano lessons. Music achievement requires effort over a period of time.
HELP YOUR CHILD BY...
• Scheduling Practice Times: Write out a 7-day practice schedule, with 30 minutes per day for beginners. 45 to 60 minutes for intermediate.
• Providing a quiet place in which to practice.
• Remaining nearby during practice times as often as possible with young children. Teenagers require more independence.
• Scheduling a consistent, daily time for practice.
• Praising your child's efforts and achievements.
WHAT TO DO
• Encourage your child to play for family and for friends.
• Expose your child to a wide variety of music, including concerts and recitals.
• Encourage your child to talk with you about his or her lessons.
• Make sure your child's instrument is always in good working order.
• Allow your child to play many types of music, not just study pieces.
• Listen to your child practice, and acknowledge improvement.
• Help your child build a personal music library.
• Try to get your child to make a minimum two-year commitment to his or her music studies.
Your child's progress will be greatly enhanced if you...
• Don't use practice as a punishment.
• Don't insist your child play for others when they don't want to.
• Don't ridicule or make fun of mistakes or less-than-perfect playing.
• Don't apologize to others for your child's weak performance.
• Don't start your child on an instrument that's in poor working order or condition.
• Don't expect rapid progress and development in the beginning.
WHAT NOT TO DO
IF YOUR CHILD LOSES INTEREST
In the event your child loses interest in his or her music studies, don't panic.
• Discuss the situation with your child to determine why their interest is declining.
• Talk to your child's music teacher to see what might be done to rekindle their enthusiasm.
• Encourage your child to stick with lessons for an agreed period of time.
• Offer increased enthusiasm and support.
Tips for Parents was developed by the following organizations in the interest of making music study and participation an enjoyable and richly rewarding experience for children and their families.
* Music Educators National Conference
* Music Teachers National Association
* National Association of Music Merchants