Despite all that has been written in this blog and elsewhere the truth is that there is one element of learning to play an instrument even more important than regular practice. This is true for all students but especially important for younger students. The students who make the most consistent progress are the ones who benefit from parental involvement in the process. Parental involvement is linked to increased understanding, practice and enjoyment which are all key ingredients to success.
Parental involvement comes in many different forms, levels and degrees.
Except in certain circumstances it is not necessary for parents to sit in on each and every music lesson but it is absolutely recommended and beneficial to take a few minutes at the end of the lesson to communicate with the teacher. Checking in after every lesson is the ideal but even after every other lesson or monthly is better than never at all. The five minutes you spend talking to the teacher at the end of the lesson is NOT a waste of your lesson time. I assure you that it is just as valuable and essential to the learning process as the time the student spends with the instructor.
Scheduling your time so as to be able to talk to the teacher at the end of each lesson allows you to ask questions, express concerns, offer input and hear the teachers observations and suggestions. You will then be clear about the assignment for the week, the teachers goals and expectations from the lessons and about any upcoming happenings such as recitals and other events and performances.
We do try hard to communicate as much as we can via email and even by leaving phone messages but the purpose of that type of communication is usually to share general information. For information regarding your student and his or her specific needs nothing compares to one to one interaction.
As mentioned earlier there are some instances when a teacher might request that a parent actually sit in on the lessons for at least a brief time. That requirement is more likely to apply to very young students or those with special needs. As the students grows and matures, as trust and relationships build, the parent can graduate to waiting right outside of the studio during the lesson. Ultimately the goal would be for the student to attend their lessons independently with the parent just stopping in at the end of each lesson.
The determination for a parent’s level of involvement in the lessons is one that is made on a case by case basis. Every parent should plan to come into the school with their child at the very first lesson and to meet with the teacher at that time. That is an excellent opportunity for you to let the teacher know anything at all that applies to your child’s learning style or differences.
A bonus to coming in to the school as often as possible is that it gives us an opportunity to get to know one and another. Regular communication is essential for more than the actual lessons. When we see you regularly we build a more personal relationship with you. This creates a better understanding between us and an appreciation of one another’s point of view. That tends to help avoid situations that can result in misunderstandings about you, your family situation and changing needs or our policies and philosophy.
For those who do not make a habit of coming in during your child’s lessons, I hope that this will help to convince you of the need to do so in the future. We have cozy waiting rooms throughout our buildings allowing you to sit comfortably while you wait. Please know that we would love to get to know each and every one of you.