The Younger Students' Secret Practice Weapon
Wednesday, August 1, 2018 by Andrea Bentz | Practice
Found a great teacher? Check. Have a good quality instrument for practice? Check. Now it's time to engage the secret weapon--an encouraging parent! There are four ways to encourage your student, and none of them has anything to do with how much you know about music!
- Be sure the practice instrument is located where it is easy to find time to practice. I know many families only have a great room (family room) for a keyboard or piano. That is a good location - right where everybody can appreciate the effort the student is making - but it can conflict with other family needs. Let your child know that the entire family values their practice time by clearing the space of distraction.
- Ensure that the keyboard or piano is at the correct height, with a firm bench at the correct height. Keyboards and benches are made with respect to the best position of the human body, and it is necessary to respect needs for correct position. A smaller child may need to sit on a flat cushion to bring their body to the correct hieight. I often use garderner's kneeler pads as they are flat, firm, and easy to handle. Small children should also have a footstool under their feet.
- Encourage, encourage, encourage! A student will make mistakes on new music, and it will be easy for you to hear them. However, the most important words they can hear are supportive: tell them you can hear progress; you are so proud of what they are learning; how nice it is to hear music in your home. Before you know it, your student will be playing beautifully!
- Get your student to each lesson on time, ready to play. The teacher will have a complete lesson planned for the available time. She can handle an active child who needs changes in activity; a shy child who is reluctant to play, or any of a number of characteristics. A child who misses all or part of a lesson will not be able to move ahead and will get discouraged.
Study after study shows the impact of a parent on musicians' success. You are the ultimate secret weapon!