Since so many of my students are school-age children, I'd like to spend a little time on the teacher-student-parent relationship in music lessons. Particularly for elementary and middle school students, the parent plays a crucial role in helping their child to learn an instrument. As a teacher, I need the parent to be interested and somewhat involved in what the child is learning. After all, I only see the student for 30 minutes or an hour per week. It actually helps if the parent can squeeze in a bit of time to sit in the room with the child at home during a practice session and listen to the student, even if you have little or no musical training yourself! Students tend to work a little harder if they know someone is listening.
In addition to spending some time listening in on the practice sessions, it's also very helpful for parents to remind and encourage their children to practice. Unfortunately, not many kids will voluntarily skip over to their instrument cases after completing their homework in the evenings. They might need a gentle push to practice (more on this in a later post). This is where an encouraging parent can be a real gold-mine in terms of a student's progress.
So, parents, you are a key player in helping your child succeed on their instrument. Support, encourage, ask questions. Do whatever you can to let your child know that you're interested in their progress, and you're listening!