Playing cello in an orchestra

Thinking about music lessons?  Wondering what you need to know?  Or what you don’t know that you need to know?  We’re here to help!

Thankfully we live in a community here in the Greenville, SC, area that is very aware and supportive of music and the arts and all of the benefits that come with early and sustained exposure to the arts.

Parents will enroll their very young children in our Kindermusik® program, for example, because they want their young children to develop a love for and interest in music in the hopes that they will continue on with music lessons.

But in case the thought of becoming a music lesson parent feels a little daunting to you, or even if you’re perfectly confident about having your child taking music lessons, here are some things you didn’t know you needed to know about music lessons.

Even “non-musical” parents can have significant influence in helping their children succeed at music lessons.  Whether you have a musical background or not, what your child needs most from you is your support, your interest, and your encouragement.  Making sure your child practices, gets to lessons regularly and on time, and knows that you love hearing him play or sing makes all the difference in how far – and how long – your child will keep up with playing an instrument or learning to sing.

Music lessons require work and dedication, but there’s big payoff.  Though the effort is a bit different, music lessons are as much a labor of love and dedication for the parents as they are for the student.  But the payoff comes when you see the joy in their eyes, the self-confidence that is blossoming, the creativity that begins to inspire every area of their thinking – all because of a developing skill that they can literally enjoy for the rest of their lives.

Your child’s music lesson teacher will eagerly welcome your involvement.  In fact, your child is guaranteed to succeed more quickly, more easily, and more enjoyably if you as the parent take an active role in maintaining an open line of communication with your child’s music teacher and insisting on practice at home throughout the week.  You know your child best, and your child’s music lesson teacher loves nothing more than being able to work closely with you.

Just because your child tells you they want to quit doesn’t mean it’s really true.  Many times “I want to quit” is because the student is on the edge of breaking through to a new level of musical skill and development, something that always spurs a student on to even greater enjoyment and progress. The biggest regret we have heard expressed over the years is someone wishing that they had not quit taking music lessons.  Along with your child’s teacher, you can nurture and encourage your child through the normal up’s and down’s of taking music lessons.

If you feel like your child isn’t making much progress, look first at their practice habits and routine…. and then take some time to talk to their music lesson teacher.  There’s one main thing that results in progress – consistent quality practice.  “Quality” being defined as practicing what the teacher asks and how the teacher asks.  Chances are that you and the teacher will be able to identify the stumbling block and find a way through it so that your child gets right back on the path to progress.

Your music teacher loves for you to read the notes – and not just the ones on the music you’re learning.  Though the method may vary, every good teacher will have some kind of written assignments plus helpful tips for the week of practice that’s ahead.  The Practice Space app we use here at Piano Central Studios makes it very easy to read and check off assignments, along with tracking practice time.

Taking music lessons in the summer will save you at least two months’ worth of tuition in the Fall.  The intentions are always good, but it’s hard to keep up with practicing and maintaining the skill that’s been gained without the consistency and accountability of summer lessons.  It can take up to three months to regain the momentum, skill, and progress that will be lost over the summer.

If your child thinks that he doesn’t have the option to quit, he might surprise you with just how long he’ll stick with taking lessons.  You might be thinking that you’re not sure how this “lesson thing” is going to work out, but don’t let on to your child that there’s an option to quit anytime soon – if ever at all.  It does something positive to a child’s psyche if they understand that music lessons and music practice are an expected part of the routine and something that you all are committed to as well.  So buy the quality instrument, and then invest the time, money, and care into your child’s musical success right from the very beginning.

It takes three people plus a great program to equal music lesson success – the teacher, the parent, and the student.  You’ve heard it said that it takes a village to raise a child, but when it comes to music lessons, it takes a triangle.  It’s the solidity of the teacher-parent-student triangle that can unfold and ignite the musical potential that is in every child.

It’s not just about an activity for now; it’s about an advantage for life.  It’s been said that a love of music is one of the first things to develop and one of the last things to go.  Making music not only is a skill that you can enjoy as much at age 80 as you did at age 8; it is also a skill that will increase cognition, improve memory, and continue to give so much joy even as you get older.

Motivation will take your child much farther than talent can.  That’s why it’s so important to find a program and a teacher who work hard to keep your student self-motivated.  There is no limit to what a child can accomplish if they are happy, engaged, and loving their music lessons.

So maybe this isn’t exactly “everything” you didn’t know you needed to know about music lessons, but hopefully it’s a good start – enough at least to give insight into finding the right program in which to enroll your child for music lessons and to give encouragement that giving your child music lessons is unwrapping a gift they will enjoy for now… and for the rest of their lives.

“I wish I had never taken music lessons”… said no one ever!

Theresa Case has been the Owner and Director at Piano Central Studios since 1995.  She and her talented team of teachers at PCS love making a difference in the lives of children, families, and students of all ages through their award-winning Kindermusik® program and highly regarded music lesson program.  In addition to offering lessons at several local private schools, Piano Central Studios has two convenient upstate studio locations on N. Pleasantburg Drive and Woodruff Road where students can enroll and begin lessons at any time.

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