December 2015
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Music Lessons

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Now that your child is registered for music lessons, how can you ensure that he achieves success? Every child is capable of studying an instrument and excelling with the right tools and there are many things parents can do to help. 

Go Pro 

You will want to make sure you are enrolled in a place with a professional school environment with functional lesson rooms that offer little distractions. It is best to study at a school that specializes in music. Schools with a history in the community, which are known for their music lesson program, will ensure a solid music education. Inquire about the school philosophy to make sure that it works for you and your family. Meet with the music school and ask questions, tour the space and see if they offer a free trial so you can determine if the school is right for you. While referrals are great, it is important that you derive your own opinion about a school and lesson program. Even if someone is a good friend, their goals and ideas about music lessons may be completely different than yours, which is why you should shop around and see for yourself.

Core Curriculum 

You will want to make sure that your school uses method books as their core curriculum. Offering supplementary material is great but the method books ensure that the lessons are organized and offer continuity which guarantees success. This applies to any instrument at any age or level. An assignment book in which the teachers keep an organized log of what was worked on and homework goals is also something that you will want to make sure that your child’s teacher uses.

Fundamentals 

Ensure that your child is given the tools to play many different kinds of music. Learning the fundamentals of music and becoming a good sight reader will ensure that your child can play anything from classical to rock. You will want your child to become a well-rounded musician and putting them into a category at a young age will prevent them from learning all about music, which is really important. There are a few exceptions to this rule, for example, voice. If your child is interested in singing contemporary music or musical theater, you will want to study with a teacher who has live performing and microphone experience. While voice teachers have great tools to make a child a better singer, nothing compares to the skill that a working musician can offer if he has his heart set on being a live performer who sings contemporary music.

Stay Organized 

Keep all lesson books together at all times. Make sure to understand your child’s assignment so you know what they need to work on and you can help monitor the practice sessions. Always keep the lesson books out and visible so sitting down to practice is never a challenge. Make sure that the books make it into a bag (yet another important tool) so they all get to the lesson each week.

Practice 

Know that it is OK to make your child practice but it is also good to sit with them and be a part of the practice routine. They won’t always want to practice, and that’s OK! Try to work through any challenges and make practice time, your time together. We all lead busy lives and just a few minutes of sitting down to practice with your child is not only good for moving him or her ahead with their music but it is great parent/child bonding time. It is also important to set practical expectations for yourself and your child. Kids are so busy these days, there are going to be some weeks where they can’t practice as much as you want. Be realistic about how much time your child has and try to stay within those guidelines.

Expand 

Engage your child in music outside the lesson. Make sure your child participates in their school recitals. Take him or her to different types of concerts, help him envision playing music beyond the classroom. Stick with it, playing a musical instrument is a great activity because you have to work on it to achieve greatness. It teaches your child that the harder they work, the better they will get. This is a lesson that applies to other life challenges as well.

Remember, being a rock star is about being really good at something. Your child can be a rock star music student if he or she gives it their all and you are there to help along the way.

Mike and Miriam Risko are the owners of Mike Risko Music, a music school that offers a wide variety of classes for children from pre-K to teen. 762-8757. mikeriskomusicschool.com.

Updated 6:44 am, December 21, 2015
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