How To Help Your New Musician Succeed On Their Instrument.
By Chad Criswell
As a parent you have always done your best to give your child
everything needed to succeed in life. By allowing your child
to learn a new instrument and play in the school band you are
adding another brick to a strong foundation that will support
your child in all aspects of her development. Playing an
instrument is not going guarantee that your child will one
day be more successful than someone that is not in the school
band, but the pride, confidence, and initiative that being a
member of a team builds in young people will serve him the
rest of his life. In order to ensure that this positive
growth occurs you as a parent need to take the lead and help
your child develop good practice habits.
Every parent needs to set up a daily block of time during
the afternoon or evening for their new band member to practice
on their instrument. This practice time must be given the same
weight and importance as would any other piece of homework.
If you treat practice time in this manner, your new musician
will also see it as important and will eventually work into
a routine that will produce steady improvement. Make sure that
the area your musician is practicing in is free from
distractions. No TV, no radio, no iPods, just your new band
student and his or her instrument. A good beginner practice
session is twenty to thirty minutes each night. Don't let them
count the time it takes to put their instrument together or
clean it afterwards. Twenty minutes of practice means twenty
minutes of playing time with lips on the instrument!
There are other things that can negatively impact a new band
student. One that comes up more often than I would like is when
I hear a student tell me that "Dad doesn't like it when I
practice," or "I couldn't practice because my brother can't
hear the TV while I'm playing." On one occasion I actually had
a student who was forced to go outside and practice in their
barn with the horses IN THE WINTER! These kinds of situations
kill any hope a student has of reaching his or her full
potential as a musician and as a member of the school band.
Do everything in your power to keep the experience or learning
the instrument positive and enjoyable when at home.
Eventually the excitement of learning a new instrument will
wear off, and this is the time that you as a parent must step
in and rekindle the fire. Teachers know that the best possible
way to learn something is to teach it to someone else. For a
change of pace, why not have your band student teach you how
to play a few notes on their instrument? Ask them to teach you
how to put it together, how to clean it, how to place the lips
on the mouthpiece, how to sit up with good posture and horn
position, how to get a good tone, etc. By doing these things
you will show your new band student that you are interested in
what they are doing and that you are proud of them for working
so hard. Being in the school Band is meant to be a positive
experience, but that positive experience must continue at home
as well for true learning and a love of music to develop.
Article written by Chad Criswell.
About the Author
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