A guide to supervise one’s child learning an instrument.
« I don’t know music so how can I tell if my child is practising correctly ? »
Many parents ask me this question at the inscription of their child(ren) at L’Académie. A teacher can validate the work of a student each week and do the necessary adjustments but how to make sure the student/learner is practicing adequately at home if the parents are not musicians and cannot validate the work ? Dear parents, here are a couple of tips to help this process.
ASK THE TEACHER TO WRITE THE HOMEWORK IN THE STUDENT’S BOOKLET
- Ex. : The song ‘Do Re Mi’ : bars 1 to 8.
BE PRESENT AT THE END OF THE LESSON IF NECESSARY OR POSSIBLE
- Then you would see and hear the instructions the teacher is telling the student.
- Depending on the instrument (piano, ukulele, guitar). Ex.: hand, guitar, and sitting
positions; alternation of the right/left fingers; etc… This way you can remind your child
the instructions. Do not hesitate to ask the teacher for precisions.
SET A TIME AND PLACE TO PRACTISE AT HOME
- Have a space with a music stand and the guitar on the guitar stand with easy access at all times. Do not leave the guitar in its case somewhere in a corner.
- Repetition is important. A missed practice one day will not be recouped by doing twice as much the next day.
- For a 7-year old child with a 30-minute weekly lesson, the ideal time would be 15 minutes a day, 4 to 5 times a week. It all depends on the concentration or fatigue of the youngster, etc…
- For students 9 to 12 years of age who have a 45/60-minute lesson, it is suggested to practise 30 minutes a day, 5 times a week.
SHOULD I BE THERE THE WHOLE TIME DURING THE PRACTICE ?
- For younger children, it is preferable to be present. For older ones (9-12), be interested in their work without sitting there because this could be intimidating. After a while, you can ask them to play for you the tune/song they are working on.
BUSY PERIODS AND/OR LACK OF TIME
- Of course school exam periods or sports competitions will affect this routine. During those times, the best action is to maintain the acquired knowledge: rehearsing/reviewing a tune/song 2 or 3 times a week should be sufficient to keep the fingers limbered and the music in mind. This way the student will not have the impression to be starting over.
As you can see, supervising one’s child(ren) musical learning is easy and
beneficial for both. What is important is to be present ! Now, time to practise !