By Mindy Cabral, The Magazine of Santa Clarita, September 2009
It’s time to get enrolled in after-school activities. You may consider taking music lessons this fall. Before you decide where to go or what to do, consider how to get the most out of your lessons.
1. Choose an age-appropriate approach – Most people automatically think about taking private lessons when they consider learning music. Private lessons are a great way to work on the individual needs of a student. If you are just beginning however, you might consider joining a group class to get started. As a beginner, group classes offer the same music education as private lessons with added benefits. These include: ensemble playing, motivation to practice, self confidence, class concerts, saving money on lessons, and most of all making learning more fun! Group classes are also usually more appropriate for young children due to their short attention span and need for movement.
2. Attend lessons in an environment that is focused on music education – It is convenient to have lessons in your home, but there can also be many distractions. Stay focused and get the most out of your lessons by having your lesson in a location that specifically meets the needs of a music student.
3. Schedule regular practice times – The commitment to learning something new is working at it. With music, this means practicing. Scheduling a regular practice time everyday (like brushing your teeth!) will help students get into the practice of practicing. Begin with shorter practice sessions. As you become more advanced, the time you spend practicing will increase.
4. Use repetition rather than time to practice – I encourage my students to just play and not to worry about the clock. When you are finished playing through the assignment, you are finished for the day (unless of course you want to just play for fun!) Practice with a purpose. Setting goals is the key. Don’t just run out the clock! Set obtainable goals together with your teacher and stay motivated.
5. Use rewards for successful practicing – Everyone deserves recognition for hard work especially when you’ve accomplished something great! (Like learning to play a new song!) Rewards can be as simple as a hug and “I am so proud of you!” from mom and dad. Or maybe a trip to get an ice cream cone. What really matters most to your kids is parental approval and happiness. If your child sees that playing music for you makes you happy, they will continue to do it. You have to show your kids how pleased you are.
Don’t forget to HAVE FUN! Music should be something that you enjoy for a lifetime. Everyone learns at a different pace and the key is to be able to enjoy the journey.
© copyright 2009