The number one issue with parents who are providing music lessons for their children is PRACTICE. How are you handling this issue in your home? If the thought of practice fills you with guilt over what you are not doing, relax.
At The By Ear Musician Studio, we believe that parental support of music lessons is the single biggest factor in a child’s success. So – how do you do that? First, let’s identify WHY you have chosen to give this gift to your child.
There are a variety of reasons you might add yet ‘one more’ thing to your busy schedule: you love music, you play an instrument, you want your child to love music, you feel obligated to develop your child’s potential, your parents/grandparents have offered to pay for lessons (so, why not?), you never had music lessons, you DID have music lessons (and perhaps regret that you quit), you believe the studies that show increased academic success with the association of music lessons, and finally (my favorite) – your child is asking you for lessons. Most of you have multiple reasons for bringing your son or daughter to music lessons, and let me say that all of these are good reasons! But recognize that each of these affect how you interpret the experience your child is receiving AND how you respond to your child’s attitude toward both playing at home (aka “practice”) and coming to lessons. Let’s go a little further.
Which are you:
1) Laid-back parent – your child is playing music at home, so you keep coming to lessons.
2) Super committed parent – you want to sit in the lesson so you can re-teach the lesson at home. This can be helpful in some cases, as long as you are not the…
3) Over-anxious parent – you may or may not have musical experience yourself, but due either to performance and achievement standards, or even due to financial pressures, you are concerned with your child’s “success”.
4) Confused parent – you don’t really understand music, but you want your child to have this wonderful experience! You don’t really know how to encourage your child or how to assess his or her experience.
Obviously, these can’t define every situation; usually a parent brings overlapping perspectives to the experience. There may be conflict because you want to be the “Super committed parent’ but you just don’t have the time. The last thing you need is guilt! Before we actually get into the practical side of how you, the parent (or supportive adult), can encourage success in your child, we have to consider and understand what your child brings.