Many parents with no musical knowledge feel lost in how they can help their child practice at home. Read on for some tips on how those without any background in music can still help their child improve their musical studies.
When first beginning music lessons, about 80% of the work must be done at home to ensure improvement. Lessons will help guide the student, but practicing will help make these concepts stick and become easier. But for small children, it is often difficult to find the discipline to practice or to remember what was worked on in lessons. This is where the role of parents might come in to play – even the non-musicians!
Parents of small children can learn along with their child during lessons. One way to do this is by taking notes during the lessons. Teachers at West Amadeus will usually write down notes after each lesson to help the student know what/how to practice at home, but sometimes these notes might not seem so clear a few days after the lesson, when details of the lesson begin to fade. By taking their own notes, parents can write in a language that will help them remember at home. During lessons, a parent might notice reminders that the teacher repeats over and over again during a lesson, such as “hold your violin up, ” or “watch the rhythm in measure 2.” By being active in the lesson along with their child and even taking notes, parents can help the student digest these reminders at home and fix them before the next lesson.
If some concepts in a lesson fail to make sense to a parent with no musical background, the best thing to do is to ask questions during lessons. Teachers will never be upset if a parent interrupts the lesson to ask questions or to ask for a more detailed explanation. Remember that music lessons are a partnership between the student, teacher, and the parent in most cases. The three have to be a team and work together to achieve the student’s musical goals.
Sometimes the most difficult part of practicing is not necessarily how to practice, but rather when to find time to practice. Scheduling practice time could be the best way to solve this issue. Practicing should be incorporated in the child’s daily routine, like homework or brushing their teeth. It is better to practice for a few minutes every day, rather than for a long chunk of time just once or twice before the next lesson. By practicing every day, the student will develop muscle memory and will be able to digest concepts that seemed difficult in lessons.
And finally, encouragement! Students that feel supported will actually want to practice more because they will see that there are results. Music lessons can help build confidence and positive work ethic, as students will learn that when they put in the work, they will improve. And parents play a huge role in encouraging their children to be patient and to persevere, even when something seems difficult. It is always important to take a step back and notice how far the student has come over time. After all, music lessons should also be enjoyable and rewarding!