After being a child and taking piano lessons, learning how to practice, and then becoming a music educator, as well as a parent myself, I can clearly and firmly say that parents make all the difference in students’ learning. That doesn’t mean that parents have to be amazing and well trained musicians, but the encouragement and pushing at times makes a difference.
My story is quite simple, and very similar to many of my students. I started piano at age 5 because I loved music. And for the first few months, things went well. But then…it got hard. And I wanted to quit. Like tears quit. But my mother wouldn’t let me. You see, my grandmother let my mom quit piano lessons and it was something that my mom wished she wouldn’t have ever done. So, because she knew that I was talented, she wouldn’t let me quit. And I’m so thankful for that. I persisted, learned how to practice (even though I still to this day hate practicing) and I’m so thankful for that decision.
Just like working on homework, there will be pushback. It will be hard, and there’s plenty of other things the child will want to do. But having that routine, structure and discipline to practice makes all of the difference. As a teacher, one thing I come across from time to time with parents is the mentality that students will learn everything in 30 minutes with me. That’s impossible when it comes to music! Music lessons are not like Tae Kwon Do or other activities where you learn things in groups and do not have to put in any work outside of that time. Music is a commitment, and I try to stress that to parents at the start. It’s not only a commitment from the student, it’s a commitment from the parent, as that is a financial commitment as well!
Because of my experiences in being a student and my 20 years of experience as a music educator, I try to make learning fun. I give students the input on what they would like to learn in addition to the method books that we’re doing. I want to challenge my students, but I want them to not feel overwhelmed and burdened by it. My goal for my students is to have them love and appreciate music, as it will be around them for their whole life.
Learning music is something that everyone can do. It’s like learning a language. There are levels to your understanding and knowledge. A good part of that comes from how much time you spend working at it. I love the opportunity to encourage students, but a part of that also means encouraging parents as well, because if they truly want to see the full value of their investment in lessons, the work has to happen on a consistent basis at home. It doesn’t have to be hours on end, but 5-10 minutes once or twice a day will add up!
I am scheduling summer lessons for in person, as well as online. You can find out more here.