Written by Fiona Lau.
The best instrumental teaching and learning occurs when the triangle of parent, teacher and child are all aware, enthusiastic and involved. To get the best value and enjoyment out of lessons, explore the following suggestions:
Make sure that your child attends their lesson on time and has an in tune and playable instrument.
If the lessons are at the teacher’s home, it is up to you to get them there. If lessons are in school then a reminder in the morning and as working watch are invaluable. Teachers will know the best repairers, tuners etc.
Ensure that your child has their instrument and music with them.
If your child has lessons in school, pack their bags/ instruments the night before and put them by the door! (Having 3 children who played 2 instruments each I had a chart by the door of who did what when and what they needed…) Check their practice diary to see what music is required and if new music needs to be bought.
Remind and encourage your child to practise and play their instrument.
Children lead busy lives and will need reminding. A chart of daily activities might help or there might be a place for ticks and stars in the practice diary.
Communicate with the teacher; practice diaries, chats after lessons, open evenings, performances, teacher blogs, emails, all help.
Your child’s teacher will probably indicate what the best way to communicate is. Just a word of caution here; your teacher may not have much time and have many pupils, so no essays in practice diaries!
Take your child to concerts and have music in the home.
If you can take your child to concerts of music in the genre that they are playing, that is great. Live music is also an excellent way to see performances modelled. Local communities may have festivals or competitions but also listen to the radio on the school run, get downloads or CDs of their exam pieces or tutor book music, and build playlists related to the music your child is playing.
Encourage and take an interest in your child’s playing and performing. Give them specific and real praise.
You are not required to give a professional critique every time they play “When The Saints”; a genuine “well-played” works just as well. You are not required to be Grade 8 standard, turn up to concerts, school assembly performances etc, smile and clap.
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Help your child as they embark on their musical journey.
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