Many parents have their children in music lessons, and none of them want their child to fail. Yet many children still end up quitting their instrument after becoming frustrated and disappointed. The good news: you truly can help your child succeed! You are uniquely qualified to improve the chances of your child sticking with music and seeing success.
Here are five reasons why you are the best person to come alongside your child on their musical journey.
Reason #1 – You know your child
No one knows your child the way you do. You know what they understand and how best to explain things. This can be a great benefit as you sit in on your child’s music lessons. When you hear the teacher say something you know went over your child’s head, you can speak up. Asking for clarity and making sure your child really understands what is being said will go a long way toward keeping frustration at bay.
Reason #2 – You have great influence on your child
Newsflash: your kids watch you. Your attitude toward music lessons can affect theirs in a profound way. If you sigh and gripe every week when it’s time to go to lessons, your child may end sharing your bad attitude. Likewise, genuine enthusiasm for music on your part will rub off on your child. Attitudes are contagious.
Reason #3 – You see your child every day
Music lessons work best when the child is diligently practicing at home and comes to lessons prepared. If the student doesn’t practice, the teacher often ends up having to stall progress or backtrack, which wastes valuable time and effort (not to mention your money!).
Your child’s music teacher probably sees him or her only once a week. You see your child every day, and you can be a great help if you get involved in their practice. If you sit in on lessons, you can help your child remember their goals and make sure they’re using correct technique when they practice. Younger students especially benefit from a little hand-holding between lessons.
Reason #4 – You can keep an eye on progress
No one is more qualified to keep track of your child’s progress than you. If you notice progress tailing off, start sleuthing! Slowing progress can be a sign of material that’s too hard, decreased motivation, lack of practicing or even the wrong teacher.
You can look into motivational strategies and reward systems if motivation and practice hours are decreasing. If the material is too hard you should talk to the teacher. A good teacher will listen to your concerns and work with you to come up with a plan and material that’s right for your child. You’ll know it’s time to write a different name on the check if you hear, “I’m the teacher, I know what I’m doing!”. Which brings us to our last point…
Reason #5 – You can screen teachers
The right teacher is a very important variable in the success equation. Be sure to use your intuition where the teacher is concerned. If something doesn’t seem to be clicking between your child and the teacher, don’t be afraid to move on. You know your child’s learning style best and what sort of teacher they need. Sometimes you have to try a few before you find the right one!
Bonus: A popular myth debunked
Myth: You have to know how to do something in order to teach it (in other words, you must learn alongside your child or you won’t be able to help them).
Truth: While we think it’s a fabulous idea for anyone to learn music, especially parents and children together, you don’t have to learn your child’s instrument in order to help them. Just sitting in on lessons will give you everything you need to keep your child’s practicing on track and answer their questions. Case in point: my mother has patiently sat in on eight years of weekly violin lessons. She could help you hold the instrument, hold the bow, and put them together with proper technique. Yet she doesn’t play the violin herself!
Kids with involved parents are almost always more successful–just ask any music teacher. If you’re a parent with a child in music, get involved! You have more to contribute than you may realize.
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