Archives for January 2015

How to Give Ownership of Practicing a Musical Instrument to Your Child


PUnknownracticing a musical instrument regularly is tough for most kids.  

That does not mean that when your child is giving you a hard time about practicing it means that they hate music and want to quit.  They just don’t like practicing, and that’s okay…for now.

There are many ways to get your child to practice.  You can force them, create a sticker chart, or even bribe them (yes, this works — don’t feel guilty if you do it).  Some days will be easier than others, and sometimes you will have to lose the battle in order to win the war.  But eventually, your goal should be to give your child ownership of their own learning. 

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Should I Find a Private Music Instructor Right Away?

musical-instruments-22aWhether it is right away or later on in a child’s music “career”, studying privately yields amazing benefits for the young musician.  Students who study privately will improve much faster than students who don’t and tend to have more opportunity to perform at higher levels, be it at regional and youth bands/orchestras or at local honor festivals.  That said, many students enjoy a wonderful K-12 (and beyond) experience without private lessons, so parents should not fret if lessons are not on the front burner priority-wise.

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All About Picking (and Switching) a Musical Instrument

imagesOne of the biggest reasons students quit their instrument is because they did not pick the right one (for them) in the first place.  If a child doesn’t pick the right instrument from the start, motivation to practice will disappear very quickly.  In many cases, finding the right instrument requires some searching — and even some switching — until the right fit is found.

So how does a child find the “perfect match”?

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When Should My Child Start a Musical Instrument?

kids-playing-music5-300x200When I first started writing this blog, it was with the public school parent in mind.  I imagined that 4th or 5th had rolled around, and that your child had picked an instrument through their school music program….off we go!

But many parents want musical training for their child sooner.  Maybe it’s because they want their child to have a “head start”, or simply because they believe there is a benefit to be had by starting a musical instrument early.

Whatever the reason, the following are some guidelines to help you decide when a best time is for your child to begin an instrument:

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How to Be a Good Music Parent Without Losing Your Mind.

AngryKidLet me preface this article by saying that my wife and I are professional musicians, and still we lost our minds (and my hair) getting my son to practice piano each night.

It doesn’t need to be this way.  Learn from our mistakes.

Our kids have a lot going on in their lives:  sports, art lessons, ballet, martial arts, you name it.  For some parents, a musical instrument brought home from school could potentially be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.  We don’t want to bug our children to do yet another thing.

But the initial stages of learning an instrument is challenging, and without some knowledge of what is going on, your child may miss out on a very rewarding musical life, at least through high school if not beyond.

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What Do I Do When My Child Brings Their Instrument Home for the First Time?

imagesWhat an exciting day!  The first day a child receives their instrument is always wonderful.  When your son/daughter opens that instrument case for the first time, they want to be good at playing it.

It goes without saying that your child will probably want to take out their instrument immediately and start playing it. Many times, they have not received their first lesson yet.  Beware!  This is the most common scenario that leads to an instrument breaking.  Some of the disrepair may not be evident at first and lead to sound not coming out of the instrument.  This leads to frustration on the part of the student, and next thing you know, they are not as excited to play as they once were.  We want to do everything in our power as teachers and parents to make sure they maintain that “sparkle in their eyes” about playing an instrument, so properly handling the instrument is of paramount importance.

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