Supporting Your Child In Music: Practicing Tips

The Associated Press announced today that the Country Music Association is donating $1.4 million to a campaign aimed at supporting music education programs in Nashville.  Since 2006 the CMA has donated more than $6 million to public schools, using the money to build music labs and purchase more than 4,000 instruments.

With many schools still cutting music and arts programs, the initiative gives hope to students and teachers alike.  If your child participates in his or her school music program, you probably know all about the benefits of taking music lessons.  But often, parents are left out in the dark in terms of how to provide support along the way.  It’s more than just attending the concerts and recitals, and you don’t even need to know anything about music to help.

So how can you support your child in music?  Check out these tips for parents from

Choosing the right instrument
– Ask your child what sounds he/she likes and what instruments appeal to him/her.
– Talk to the school band or strings teacher about your child’s interest before making a decision. Most beginning band and orchestra teachers let students hold and try out different instruments to help them make a choice.
– Allow your child to explore. Many musicians started out on one instrument only to switch a few years later to another instrument with much greater success.

Practice Tips for Elementary School Kids
– Help your child set up a special place at home to practice.
– Establish a time each day to play. Some children are at their best in the morning, before school. Others may do better right after school, or later in the evening.
– Consider using the phrase “playing time” rather than “practice time.”
– If possible, be a positive part of your child’s playing time. Sit with your child while he or she plays and ask, “Show me what you’re learning.” Or, consider learning to play the instrument with your child.
– Praise your child for each step forward.
– Never make negative remarks about how your child’s playing sounds. It takes time and effort to produce musical sounds.
– Provide positive role models. Bring your child to hear amateur or professional musicians perform, or take your child to movies that show musicians in a positive light.
– When seeking private lessons, find a qualified teacher you can talk to easily and make sure your child is comfortable with the teacher.

Practice Tips for Middle and High School Kids
– Help your child set up a regular time every day to practice, and help establish a routine.  This may require some consultation with your child’s teacher.
– Explain to your child that learning happens in stages. Sometimes a student will work on something for a long time with no apparent improvement, and then discover a sudden leap in ability. Other times, learning happens very quickly. The important thing to stress is that consistent practice will yield results.
– Help your young musician set practice goals. Keeping a journal, not just a practice chart, helps track the peaks and valleys of learning a new piece or improving fundamental skills.
– As a parent, don’t make judgments about the musical quality of your child’s practicing. Learning an instrument requires lots of squeaks, scratches, and wrong notes.

Parents, what do you think?  Teachers, what other advice can you offer?  Leave a comment and join the discussion! Like these posts?  Sign up to receive daily updates right to your inbox!  Click here to subscribe.



You might also like…
Help Your Child Choose the Right Instrument
12 Easy Steps to Help ANY Parent Support Their Musical Child (Even If You Don’t Have a Clue About Music)
All I Really Need to Know I Learned from Music Recitals


Photo by USAG-Humphreys.