Parent's Guide to Music Lessons
Other Necessities for Successful Music Lessons
Time and Space
Music students do best with a consistent, daily practice routine. To get the most out of the investment of time and money in music lessons, students should aim to practice 7 days a week, or as close to that as possible. Beginner students may start with 15-20 minutes of practice each day. After a year or so, they can increase practice time to 30 minutes per day, depending on the age and maturity of the child. As the student gets older and advances, the time needed to practice can go up to 45 minutes or an hour.
The home "practice space" should have enough room to play, a good chair (with no arms), sufficient lighting, and a music stand. The space should also be free of distraction—for example, away from TV's or other activities.
Parents' Support and Enthusiasm
Children need to know their music is important to mom and dad. If it is a priority for you, it is a priority for them.
Sometimes students will go through periods of not wanting to practice. This can happen for many different reasons—maybe they are working on a piece that is technically very difficult, maybe there is something new like a new friend, or sport, or other activity they want to spend more time on, or maybe there is no identifiable reason at all! Don’t take this as a sign that music is “not the right fit” because this phase can pass! During this time it is important for parents to be an enthusiastic and motivating force. Music is a part of your child’s overall education and sometimes you have to help keep them focused and positive if they get in a rut.
The same thing can happen with other important things—like math homework, boring reading assignments, and eating vegetables. Feel free to talk to your private teacher about it! They may be able to give you some helpful tips or create a special assignment to get your student back on track. Keep in mind that grit (resolve or strength of character) can be a byproduct of this type of experience. When your student enters into a tough phase of their musical learning career and they buckle down, put in the time and effort, and come out having overcome a huge obstacle—they are developing a mental and emotional strength that will help them persevere through future challenges in music, school, and life.
Lines of Communication with Your Teacher
One great feature of private music instruction is that each lesson can be tailored to a students specific needs and learning style. Communicating any challenges or concerns to your teacher is always helpful. It gives them a heads up on how to adjust the next lesson or create a strategy to help your student keep progressing and feeling positive.