Balance is the key to all of life! It means allocating our time properly so that everything we need to accomplish gets done by the end of the day and prioritizing when necessary. When we find balance, we become efficient and effective in all we do.

When it comes to your child’s desire to be trained in a given area of music, you need to know when your presence and support matters. Sometimes, it could be the most encouraging thing they experience – you cheering them on to become what they want to be. On the other hand, there are other times when your presence is actually retrogressive. Lara Levitan shares some insights on what she found out:

child being taught to play an instrument
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The Crux of the Matter

Knowing when to participate as a parent or guardian and when not to poses a great challenge. You may want to be highly involved and see your children succeed in what they are doing. So what should you do?

We asked a few seasoned music teachers for their advice on the right blend of parental involvement and detachment, and they were consistent across the board.

Their advice: involvement during music lessons should be minimal to none, depending on the student. But music practice is most effective–and productive– when a parent or caregiver takes an active role. Via Piano Power

Minimal Participation

The first lesson can be quite overwhelming for your child, as he or she tries to cope with all the new things going on around. This is a good opportunity to be present and give your child the support he or she needs.

If your student and teacher are okay with it, sitting in on a first lesson can show support and provide an extra source of background information. Via Piano Power

The subsequent lessons will require that you take a step back and allow your child to bond with the teacher. If you are all over the place, this bond may not take place.

But for future lessons, occasionally popping in for the last few minutes of a lesson is a milder, more helpful approach. Via Piano Power

Alma Deutscher
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How To Behave

The few moments you spend with your child during a lesson can have a positive or negative impact. Ensure that those few moments communicate the best messages to your child. Avoid being passive (some parents assume that looking as if they don’t care helps to avoid distracting the child) or giving off negative communication cues as explained below:

If you are sitting in on a portion of your child’s lesson, though, always stay positive and be mindful of your comments or body language.

“I once had a very well-meaning parent who would literally cringe any time she heard a wrong note or rhythm,” said Piano Power teacher Lucas Gillan. “While I appreciated that the mom cared so much about her son’s performance in his lessons, she took it so far that it discouraged him.” Via Piano Power

Why?

It’s important that you understand why minimal parental participation during lessons is critical. It is your turn to step back and let the expert (the music teacher) do his or her job. It is also beneficial as it helps children learn to manage situations on their own.

Ultimately, music students need time and space to discover their instrument on their own terms and at their own pace, and to develop their relationship with their instructor as a mentor.

You’ve already given the child the gift of music lessons– once they’ve gotten started, it’s time to let them unwrap it and discover its possibilities. Via Piano Power

Maximum Participation

When it comes to practice time, this is where your input as a parent is very crucial. You need to maintain regular communication with your child’s teacher to learn and find ways to help your child during practice hours. The following are some ways to do this:

boy playing the guitar
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Maintain contact with the teacher: Even when you are unable to pop into your child’s lesson, you can ensure that you get guidelines on how to help your child get quality practice time.

Students might keep a notebook that travels between home and lessons, which can be extra helpful in these situations. Teachers can write a brief summary of the lesson, and suggestions for helping the student practice, for the parent to read. Via Piano Power

Ensure practice happens: There are many other things that children might be involved in. As such, your input is needed to ensure that they stick to the plans they set with the teacher. In this area, you’re in charge!

And any student in this day and age has many activities vying for their attention. Left without a “practice coach”–be it a parent or another caregiver– they’re much more likely to lose interest in lessons. Via Piano Power

Get advice from the teacher: You can also ask for help on how to make the practice time more objective and successful.

“By checking in regularly with an instructor, parents can learn very basic ways to support at home with technique, understanding notes on a staff, shaping a practice routine that works for their family, etc.” Via Piano Power

Conclusion

Enjoy the journey. Realize that every child is different and has strengths and weaknesses. What worked for one child may not work for another. Take it easy, have fun and allow your child to make mistakes and learn from them.

The most important thing is to “tune in” to your student’s musical journey. In other words, be sensitive and responsive to what works–and doesn’t work– for your unique child. Via Piano Power

Featured Image: Image Credit

 

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