Knowing the best ways to support a young person’s pursuit in music can be elusive to many parents. Why do kids seem interested, but have trouble following through? Why don’t they practice? Learning and experiencing music adds so much value to our lives — by working together, you can encourage their growth!
How can you support your young musician?
Ask them to show you what they’ve learned. Sharing what you know with someone else is exciting and can be motivating. Get interested in their interests!
Get a great teacher and take lessons.
Invest in the best instrument you can afford, in consultation with your teacher.
Encourage a positive practice environment.
- Give your musician a reliable space that they can work in without family or other distractions. Give them time and do not interrupt them to ‘just ask one question’ or to have them come do a chore. Help set a practice time that works for the whole family, one where where your musician can be focused and not needed elsewhere.
- A music stand and comfortable chair are important. Without the proper tools, it’s difficult to get quality work done. Imagine how (un)productive you are when you work from home. This is what practice is.
- Make practicing a priority in your family schedule and be sure to give your musician time every day to devote to it.
- If you get to “practice time” every day and your musician says, “I don’t want to”…don’t say, “go practice your ____!” Instead, ask them to show you what they’ve been working on, what music they are learning in band/orchestra/choir, ask when their next concert is, etc. Before you know it, they’ll be telling and showing you all about it and you can just let them continue!
- For younger students—be involved in the practice session if you can. Work through your teacher’s weekly assignments together or have a “check-in” day where they show you what they’ve been working on. Help them make sure they haven’t forgotten anything on their list.
Go to concerts.
Show your musician that you are invested by attending concerts together. Research the music before you go by reading about the piece/composers online and listening to a recording. Talk about the performance afterward to discuss what you liked, didn’t like, what made sense to you or not, etc. If it’s a recital or chamber music concert, try to meet the performers after.
Do outside research.
Explore music in any way you can. Look for books, recording, scores, and articles about any musical topics. There is much to learn about music history, theory, and therapy, about performers, instruments, orchestras, conductors, opera, chamber music, contemporary, baroque, crossover, and other topics!
Remember that it can be fun!
Have fun exploring music with your child and try to make it a positive experience! You may even discover some of your own interests along the way!