Top Tips for Parents of Music Students
Top Tips for Parents of Music Students
Parents play a crucial role in their child’s musical development. Parents who are involved in their child’s music education have a noticeable impact on how quickly a music student learns new musical skills and achieves their music goals.
Here are 4 ways parents can be involved in their child’s music education:
Be present at the end of music lessons
Prioritize daily practice
Understand the importance of music lessons
Trust the teacher’s guidance
Be Present at the End of Music Lessons
Our most successful music students have parents who are present a few minutes before the end of every lesson. Teachers use this time to provide guidance to the parents on the skills that need attention and emphasize which playing exercises will facilitate the greatest improvement.
This is also a great time for parents to provide feedback to the music teachers. Music teachers only hear the student play for 30 to 60 minutes per week, whereas parents have the opportunity to hear the student play throughout the week. Perhaps the student has an affinity for certain composers or music periods. Or they notice their child struggling with a particular section of a piece. This is a great time to compare notes with the music teacher and allows the music teacher to shape music lessons accordingly.
Prioritize Daily Practice
Parents of stellar music students recognize the importance of practice. They understand that music students have to persist through countless hours of practice in order to deliver a 5-minute piece, performed with great technical skill, for a performance.
Practice, at its core, is essentially the homework that a music teacher has assigned and there is an expectation that the homework will be completed daily. The important word to emphasize is “daily”. Parents who prioritize daily practice know that the hours of practice quickly add up and will affect how quickly a student builds muscle memory, masters technical skills, anticipates and memorizes portions of music, and develops musicianship skills. Let’s do some quick math:
A 6-year old who practices 20 minutes a day, daily, accumulates 7300 minutes of practice or 122 hours of practice per year.
A 6-year old who practices 20 minutes a day for 209 days a year (4 days a week) accumulates 4180 minutes or 70 hours of practice per year.
A 6-year old who practices 20 minutes a day for 104 days a year (2 days a week) accumulates 2080 minutes or 35 hours of practice per year.
The contrast in the numbers become more pronounced as the length of practice time increases to an hour of practice per day.
Understand the Importance of Music Lessons
Our best music students rarely miss a lesson. If they miss a lesson, parents work with the teacher to reschedule the missed lesson, whether it is online or in-person, so that students do not lose momentum. By placing a high value on music lessons, parents set the same expectations as they would for attending class at school..
To get the most out of the music teacher’s time, lessons should start and end on time. If students consistently arrive 5 minutes late, a significant amount of valuable teaching time is lost.
Trust the Teacher’s Guidance
We love parents who work closely with our music teachers and who trust the teacher’s instruction. A music teacher’s guidance is especially important in determining a student’s readiness for:
Taking the Royal Conservatory of Music (RCM) exam
Performing in a recital
Competing in a music competition
Learning a challenging new piece of music.
Music teachers may suggest longer lessons, especially when it comes to the advanced RCM levels where pieces can be greater than 7 minutes long. They might recommend extra lessons in preparation for a music program audition, RCM exam or music competition.
Parents need to keep in mind that the role of a music teacher isn’t simply to guide a student so that they would pass an exam, but rather teach a music student to deliver a high quality performance and to truly embody the words “musician”. This is why our music school’s students have won awards at numerous regional music competitions and our RCM exam average is consistently higher than the national average across all instruments and levels.
In summary, we love it when parents actively participate in their child’s music education. There is nothing stronger than when a parent, teacher, and student work together as one unit to attain a common goal. Communicating regularly with the music teacher, setting expectations of daily practice, valuing and prioritizing music lessons, and trusting the teacher’s guidance are great ways for a parent to engage in their child’s music education. Just as a gardener encourages faster and more abundant plant growth by nurturing plants with pruning, watering, and nutrients, a supportive parent helps enrich and produce a more fruitful experience - resulting in a student maximizing their full musical potential.