Music Lessons – Getting Your Money’s Worth

Music lessons, getting your money's worth
Get your money’s worth from your investment in music lessons!

Music lessons can be expensive, so how can we make sure that the money we spend on them is a worthwhile investment?

We all know that music lessons can make you brighter, because of the workout that music gives the brain.
Hang on a moment…… music by itself don’t make you brighter, it is actually music practice that does the trick.

So, how do we stack the deck in favour of your child benefitting from your generous investment in music lessons?  There are many things which you can do to make practice worthwhile and fun.

The following points will help make the most of your investment in music lessons.

•  A small child will learn more easily with the help of a loving practice partner. Your job is to support and encourage your child.

•  Attend your child’s music lessons and make notes. You can use these to plan your practice sessions.  If you write the assignment on separate cards, you can use them for lucky dip games.  These really help empower your child.

•  Listen to recordings of the repertoire that your child is learning. Children who regularly do this find that they learn faster as they progress through the pieces.  They soon begin to feel as if music just falls from their fingertips.

•  Set achievable goals. If you use a practice book, keep a record of what you have done in each practice.  Your teacher will give you useful feedback during music lessons.  Just don’t forget to put each assignment on a separate card and add the practice points as they come up.

•  Keep the practice time short. We don’t want to make children feel trapped in a situation from which they can’t escape, or to strain vulnerable young muscles.  Stop before the first yawn.  If your child wants more, you can do another practice later in the day.

•  Move at your child’s pace. Learning an instrument isn’t a race.  Your child is a child and when you remember this, it makes it easier not to pile on the pressure.  Focus on all the wonderful things that your child is achieving through music lessons and celebrate with them.

•  Set aside time for reviewing old pieces. This way your child will improve their musical ability by repeating.  The neural system needs about 10,000 correct repetitions to turn knowledge into ability.  The easy pieces, learnt in early music lessons are the foundation of advanced technique.

•  Plan regular practice times. You will find it easier to make practices happen if they are linked to a regular event in your family’s daily life.  After breakfast is a great time as everyone is generally still fresh.

•  Ask, don’t tell. A child who is engaged in an activity stands a greater chance of internalising what has been taught in music lessons than one who is just ordered around.

•  Have a good collection of music practice games to hand and use them regularly. Children almost always respond better to fun music games than to dry instruction.  Everyone learns better when they are enjoying the process.  There are lots of music practice games for making music fun on this site.

•  Praise, praise, praise.  Healthy praise is honest and is directed towards the effort and focus put in by your children, rather than at the clever things they can do.  Listen to how your teacher does it at music lessons and copy at home.

Beware!  By keeping up a flow of “Good, great, way to go etc, etc,” you could be creating a “praise junkie.”  Your child could then become vulnerable to loss of self confidence if the flow dries up.  Furthermore, a child knows when you are being truthful and will spot empty praise a mile away.

Implement these points one step at a time and try out some or our lovely practice games with your child.  They should take you a long way towards making music practice fun and worthwhile for both of you.

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