4 Ways to Guide Your Children on an Instrument
Learning an instrument can be an exciting thing! It can also be daunting for both children and parents, especially if neither one has had any musical experience. These tips are equally a reminder for myself as I practice with my children, as they are for you.
Learning an instrument is a journey. It's not something accomplished in a day or even a week. I hope these tips are helpful and set both you and your child up for success!
1. Be Consistent.
One of the greatest contributors to having a successful week of practice is consistency.
There is a saying in the music world, “If I miss one day of practice, I notice it. If I miss two days, the critics notice it. If I miss three days, the audience notices it.”
This is true. The longer we go without practicing the more our muscles lose their memory. Sneaking in 5-10 minutes of practice for a child on a busy day is better than doing no practicing at all.
Sometimes, splitting up practice sessions, one in the morning and one in the evening is hugely beneficial!
Set a goal with your child and their teacher and try to accomplish at least 5 short practice sessions a week to begin. Increase the time as they grow older and receive more advanced material.
2. Be Involved.
A common mistake I see in a students’ musical journey is when parents neglect overseeing their child’s practice sessions.
Most of the time, a young child needs you beside them to help understand their tasks for the week. Even if you have no musical background, you can help your child read the directions, help count how many times they’ve done an exercise, or just be with them to listen.
More often than not, a musical endeavour of a child fails when parents are not there to support the child - daily!
Having a child take music lessons is just as much of a commitment from you the parent as it is for the child. But oh so rewarding! As a child grows older and understands what is required from day to day, it will become more hands off for the parent - I promise!
3. Push through the hard moments.
These times will come. Quite soon after beginning an instrument, every child faces the reality that any activity takes time, practice and diligence. This is normal. Plus, it is an important part of learning perseverance and character.
A few ways you can support your frustrated child is by keeping a smile on your face even though something is hard for them. A smile goes a long way!
Don’t let them, or yourself, be quick to quit. Learning an instrument takes an extraordinary amount of patience.
Learning an instrument is a privilege!
We live in a country where children (and parents) can see music lessons as just “another thing to try out.” But in reality, in other parts of the world, learning an instrument is a luxury. Let’s keep our kids’ hearts in check and show them what it means to be grateful for the opportunity to learn an instrument.
Secondly, I’m all for giving small rewards after a practice session if they have worked hard and shown good attitudes! Kids are not naturally born with motivation, but rather something they grow into with time. So, if your child needs some sweet rewards to motivate them, by all means, use them!