So you’ve booked your child’s music lessons, organized your schedule, and made the decision between purchasing or renting an instrument. Parent involvement can be a big factor in your child’s success, so your job doesn’t end there!
Younger students in particular may need help with establishing good practice habits, tracking progress, and staying motivated outside of the lessons. There are a ton of ways you can provide that support, and simply sitting down with your child to set a few goals for the school year is a great way to start. And not only will it help their success in music lessons, but developing the skill (and habit) of setting goals will carry over into other areas of their life.
If your child is into sports, consider the following comparison: Think about your music lessons as a game of soccer. Sure, idly passing the ball around the field can be fun for a while, but the clear inclination is to boot that ball straight through the goal. The players know where they’re aiming – do you?
Encourage your son or daughter to write a few goals down on paper, and post them up near their practice area. Track them together (try using a calendar with stickers to mark the milestones, for example), and then of course, celebrate when he or she reaches those goals! Your music teacher can, and should, be part of this process, as well.
As you brainstorm with child, here are some examples to get the wheels in motion…
- Participate in a school or community talent show
- Perform a song or mini-recital at the next family get-together
- Keep track of practicing using a calendar or practice log
- Spend 30 minutes each day, in addition to practicing, listening to music
- Compose his or her own short song
- Consider both short-term (e.g. what should I practice this week?) and long-term (e.g. what song would I like to play by the end of this year?)
- Audition for a state competition
- Move up to the first chair spot in your band or orchestra
- Organize a band, performance group or jam session with your friends
- Record a CD
- Volunteer at church or an after-school program to help younger students
- Write a journal entry after each lesson
- Research & apply for music scholarships available for college
- Cultivate your artistic side by participating in drama, creative writing or drawing classes
- Suzy S., TakeLessons staff member and blogger
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Photo by hans s.