When booking new students for music lessons, we often hear, “How long will it take to see results?” We tell our customers that it really depends on each student’s ability to learn and how much dedication and effort they choose to put into it. Meaning, if a student is enrolled in weekly lessons but fails to show up for lessons and/or practice regularly, they probably won’t see a drastic improvement. However, if they attend their scheduled lessons while continuing to practice and push themselves, they will be amazed at what they can accomplish.
When we explain this to parents, another concern usually arises – “How can I help encourage my child to practice and stay engaged in lessons?” The good news is that there are many ways parents can help keep their children excited about their lessons. We asked some of our talented TakeLessons music teachers to share how they encourage parents to get involved and got some really great feedback. Check out this piece written by one of our Dallas guitar teachers, Jerry W. Jerry lists some interesting ideas for parents to make the musical learning process more enjoyable for their kids. Once the kids are engaged and practicing regularly, they are more likely to see their results faster!
Tips for Music Teachers: Young Guitar Students, Parents & Practice
Each year, I am approached by parents who request that I teach guitar lessons to their children. I am always flattered that they would choose me to teach their child. The child is usually enthusiastic as they begin their musical journey. After about a month, the student’s attitude begins to shift from enthusiasm to the realization that they have undertaken a lifelong journey of learning. Based on my experience, I have observed a number of ways parents can help keep their kids engaged in the process.
1. Stay informed about the lessons. Parental involvement in the learning process is essential. Students, oftentimes, get caught up in the details of the lesson that they are learning. In this situation, they tend to lose sight of the long term goals. Parents can lend a “big picture” perspective to the child. Parental involvement can be anything from visiting with the teacher after each lesson to view the material that has been assigned to actually taking lessons with the student. Taking lessons together is a great way for parent and child to foster a common interest. Oftentimes, the parent can actually assist the student at home and can even practice together.
2. The importance of the teacher’s attitude toward each student, and their progress, cannot be overstated. The teacher must communicate with the parents each little “victory” in the learning process. Honest communication to the parents of the areas which are going well, as well as areas which need improvement is very helpful in keeping the student engaged in the process.
3. Parents, just like teachers, can develop creative ways to keep students practicing. These strategies can include: seeing that the student use play-a-long Cds, recording practice time, practicing with the student, and taking the student to performances of great artists. Parental involvement in this way can be very effective in helping the student achieve both short term and long term goals.
Learning is, quite simply, not a “one size fits all” process. A Harvard education professor once stated that “you cannot make some learn something. You can only create circumstances under which they want to learn the subject.” Therein lies the great challenge for any teacher. Common sense parental involvement can go a long way toward creating such an environment.