As a parent, you play a tremendous role in the success of your child’s music education. Even if you have had no musical training yourself, don’t be daunted.  There are many things you can do to support your child’s learning.



  1. 1)MUSICAL EXPERIENCES - The Wonderful World Beyond the Piano Studio:


Expose your child to as wide a variety of musical experiences as possible.  Music is a language and is best learned like any other language - through immersion, listening, and practice!  Listening is a huge component of a good music education and cannot be emphasized enough.  Sharing musical experiences with your child also teaches them that music is an important part of your family culture, and as a result becomes more important to them as individuals.   Be sure to incorporate classical music as much as possible.  While children are exposed to a wide variety of popular music every day, many don’t hear classical music in their day-to-day lives. 


  1.    CONCERTS:


  1. Bullet   Toronto has a fantastic classical music scene.  Explore it with your child!  If you are

       looking for suggestions, I am always happy to recommend a concert.

  1. Bullet   The Toronto Symphony Orchestra has a wonderful Children’s Concert Program that i

       fun and engaging for younger students, and provides an excellent introduction to the

       ‘concert-going experience’.

  1. Bullet   When introducing your child to ‘adult’/full-length concerts, don’t be afraid to leave

       during the intermission.  This is not a waste of money!  It is better for your child to enjoy

       the concert (even if they don’t hear all three hours of it), than for them to be turned off

       the experience because it is too long for them to sit through.


  1.    AUDIO RECORDINGS: 


  1. Bullet   Invest in a few classical music recordings.  (Again, I am always happy to make

       recommendations!) Play music during family dinners, when everybody is getting ready

       for school in the morning, in the car, etc.

  1. Bullet   There are many fantastic educational CDs designed to introduce students to various

       elements of classical music (from the instruments of the orchestra, to famous works and

       famous composers).  These can be fun to listen to on long car rides, or before bed.  For a

       list, just ask!


  1.    DVDs:


  1. Bullet   There are also many educational DVDs designed to introduce students to various

       elements of classical music (from the instruments of the orchestra, to famous works and

       famous composers).


  1.    RADIO:


  1. Bullet   Tune your car radio to a classical station.

      


  1.    DANCE:


  1. Bullet   Dance performances are almost always accompanied by music.  And musicians can

        learn a lot from watching dancers.

  1. Bullet   Dance is a visual expression/interpretation of the qualities of music.  Visual learners

        will benefit greatly from watching dancers.




  1. 2)ONLINE MUSIC GAMES:


There are many sites online that offer fun and engaging games to help students consolidate their understanding of new musical concepts.  A particularly good site is:

   http://www.musiclearningcommunity.com/  (This site is not entirely free.  There are a few free games, but it is also worth signing up).




  1. 3)PRACTICING:


        Many parents find that once the novelty of piano lessons has worn off, practicing between lessons can

        become a struggle.  Motivating a student to practice is in large part the job of the piano teacher, but

        parental support at home is critical, especially with younger children. (Remember that as a teacher, I

        only see your child for a maximum of 1 hr. every week). 


Here are some ideas parents have found helpful:


  1. Bullet    Set up a practice routine in which your child practices at the same time every day. 

  2. Bullet    Provide an egg timer on the piano, so that students can measure their practice time independently,

           and know when they are finished without having to ask you every five minutes.

  1. Bullet   Read over practice instructions with your child at the beginning of each practice session, so that

           they are clear on what they are supposed to be doing.

  1. Bullet    Read over practice instructions again with your child at the end of each practice session.  Ask them

           to evaluate what they accomplished.  (As tempting as it may be, be careful not to fall into the trap

           of evaluating their practice session for them).

  1. Bullet    Have each practice session culminate in a fun family performance for whoever is available to listen.

  2. Bullet    Sticker charts can be a fun way to track regular practicing.

  3. Bullet    If your child is struggling with the length of each practice session, try breaking it up.  Fifteen minutes

           in the morning and fifteen minutes after school can fly by!




  1. 4) EXPLORING MUSIC HISTORY with your child:


The more students understand about the music they are playing the better!  Basic information about composers lives and the time periods during which their music was written, will help students appreciate and interpret their music more successfully.  Again, teaching students about music history is primarily the job of the piano teacher, but the more interest you can cultivate in your child, the more successful these efforts will be.


       •   There is a delightful range of ‘child-friendly’ materials available in the following formats:


  1. Bullet   Books

  2. Bullet   DVDs

  3. Bullet   CDs

  4. Bullet   Educational Children’s Concerts


© Veronika Davy 2010, all rights reserved.