I know what you’re thinking: “Piano lessons? Really?”
When we lived in Florida, for seven years, I had a studio of about 15 weekly piano lessons. When we moved to Georgia, in addition to my responsibilities at our church, I became the administrator of the Mikado Academy of Music a fine arts program with multiple instructors and more than twice as many students. So you would expect me to say many favorable comments about private music lessons, wouldn’t you? But something happened last year that changed my perspective a bit.
For the first time, I enrolled my own children in piano lessons.
I enjoy having my children learn from varying perspectives, and even though we experimented with some on-and-off-again music lessons, I felt it would improve my children’s approach if they took piano lessons from a seasoned instructor. In fact, their teacher had taught for over forty years, and truly encouraged her students in the joy of music making.
Here’s the biggest thing I learned as a parent of young children taking piano lessons: You really can’t just drop them off at piano lessons each week and expect them to improve. As a parent, you have to be actively involved in the learning process.
Now, philosophically, I understood this. I even preached it as a piano instructor. But as a parent, with a busy personal and family schedule, it didn’t take long for the truth of this to hit home.
When a young student is given assignments, they can’t just be expected to accomplish their work at home by themselves in the course of the week. In fact, for younger children, it is critical–at least for the first few at-home practices each day–to literally sit with your child, and go through the assignments together. Even if you are not a musician yourself (yet you see the value in music education for your children), you will be able to follow along, learn a lot while you go, and assist your child in helping to make sure they are doing everything their instructor requested. And in the (supposedly) worst case scenario, in which you actually don’t know how to help your child, you can write a note to your teacher asking for further explanation, or communicate with the teacher via email, text or phone call. Even a casual conversation before or after their next lesson may help you to be able to help your child. Any good music instructor who is worth anything at all would greatly value parents who are inquisitive and intentional about helping their child succeed.
There were some weeks where my wife and I just weren’t able to assist in our child’s practice for the week, and we saw their progress suffer during those times. It became an important reminder to us that our kids weren’t just doing this alone; we were all in this together.
We still haven’t mastered this concept, because life can get overly busy at times. But we do understand better how we as parents can sit and encourage our children in their musical endeavors and see real improvement from week to week. And that has helped make music instruction a real joy in our home.
More About the Mikado Academy of Music
You can register your children for private piano and violin instruction here for this upcoming school year. Hurry! Early registration ends on August 15, 2016.
When you register, in the notes section of the online form, mention that you read this article at forkidstodo.net, and you’ll receive two free lessons on us!