Too often as teachers we hear the phrase “I am not musical at all, so I’m no help when it comes to practicing.” This post is to help end that statement and help guide you in the ways you are able to help your child practice. We’ve summed up how to help your child practice in three very easy steps for even the most non-musical of parents! We work hard in our 30, 45, or 60 minutes each week with our students to excite them about their musical growth, but the extra help from even the most non-musical parent at home is most definitely needed and very beneficial to a student.
1. Stay Aware – Know the Important Facts
At the end of your child’s lesson your teacher will pass on a few very valuable pieces of information which are key for the non-musical parent.
We will tell you:
- how many songs they are working on
- what the songs are called
- their main practice goal for the week
These three important facts are the bare minimum that you need as a non-musical to help ask leading questions (explained in step two) and help you “fake it till you make it” when it comes to practice support. Here’s the best part — if you happen to miss seeing one of us at the end of your child’s lesson or can’t remember what the teacher said, all of this information is also included on their lesson sheet located in their binder or folder, so students and parents can refer to it throughout the week.
2. Stay Connected – Ask Questions
Our second step helps you keep you connected with your child through something you may feel unsure about. This step applies the three important facts you learned in step one from your child’s teacher or lesson sheet by forming them into leading questions about their pieces. For example if all you can remember is the title of the song, your conversation might go like this, “I love the way ‘Pumpkin Boogie’ sounds, can you play it again?”. Sometimes this is the simplest way to prompt practice at home. More importantly it makes your child feel as though what they are practicing means something to you — and you are after all, their most important person!
3. Show Support – Designate Practice Time
Our last and equally important step is dedicated to creating some sort of routine at home and designating a practice time. Just like going to soccer practice or dance class, children need a time they know is designated to practice the skills they learned in their lesson. The more you set aside a routine time, the easier this becomes. Not every child (in fact very few) is self motivated, so this extra support from you at home is so helpful in supporting their decision to take music lessons. Set aside 15 minutes after dinner one night, or 30 minutes over the weekend. You can be nearby to ask your leading questions, but certainly don’t need to sit right beside them. An example of how this conversation would go is, “While I clean up the dinner dishes, let me hear that C Major scale that is sounding so great!.” Having support to set a practice routine can make a huge impact on your child’s musical progress.
There you have it! Our three very easy steps to help guide you in ways to help your child practice, without any musical knowledge base. Remember that they know what they’re doing and sometimes they just need that nudge in the right direction from their important people. If you can believe it, many music teachers grow up with non-musical parents. But with endless encouragement at home, we turned out just fine!
You can do this – and we look forward to supporting you through it!