For a decade, Learning Allegro has been offering group music classes for toddlers — and from time to time, someone will ask us, “Does music really make a difference at THAT age?” It’s a valid question! After all, the average two-year-old can barely talk, struggles to […]
Miss Haleigh shares her Learning Allegro journey with us in this last blog post of 2018. The last week of December is an interesting paradox. Within the span of a week, we go from celebrating the past to cheering on the future. Christmas is all about […]
As your son or daughter heads back to school band, orchestra, or choir, here are a few tips to help pave the way for success!
1. PRACTICE AT HOME. The best way to prep for the work you do in class is…you guessed it…practicing on your own time! Encourage your child to take a little break from homework to spend time with his or her music assignments. We recommend framing practice time as a BREAK from homework, not an additional component of homework. It helps to give your child a more positive perspective on his or her practice times.
2. CHECK ON YOUR RENTAL SITUATION. If you don’t already own your child’s instrument, renting is the best way to go. Most instrument rental programs use a rent-to-own system to cover each month’s expenses — and then, when your child is ready for a full-time instrument, you can often purchase it for next to nothing! At Learning Allegro, we are providers for Menchey Music, an affordable, quality service offering rentals for all school band and orchestra instruments from strings to brass & woodwinds.
3. MAKE FRIENDS IN MUSIC CLASS. Your kid will probably do this on his or her own, but a little encouragement can’t hurt! Music classes at school are a great way to make music a community-building activity…and when you make friends with other musicians, you find out you’re not the only one who struggles with difficult notes and rhythms. Encourage your child to find that sense of camaraderie in class and encourage his or her peers.
4. CHECK OUT PRIVATE LESSONS. As we said in our last post, group lessons have a lot of great qualities, but they will never really be enough on their own. One-on-one help is a huge deal when you’re learning a new instrument because everyone’s motor skills, reading skills, and innate sense of rhythm and tone develops at a different pace. Give your child a boost and sign him or her up for a private music lesson outside of school. You won’t regret it!
5. BRING ON THE ENCOURAGEMENT! Music lessons, whether in a group or in private, can be tough! Encourage your child not to quit or get stressed when the midyear school blues kick in. Remind them that music is an outlet for energy, emotion, relaxation, and learning initiative. Applaud their progress when you notice positive change, and encourage them when they are frustrated with how things sound. You, the parent, play a huge part in making your child’s school music lessons successful!
To learn more about lesson opportunities for all instruments at Learning Allegro, call us (484-341-8842) or check out our website.
Every now and then, someone asks us whether their child should be in group lessons or private lessons — but believe it or not, the two are really designed to work together. Allow me to explain! Group lessons and private lessons, as separate entities, both […]
I SHOULD PREFACE THIS POST WITH A LITTLE NOTE.
Yes, I’m in the music education business. No, I’m not writing this to guilt-trip you into keeping an unhappy child in lessons! There are certainly times to take a child out of music lessons, just like there are times to take them out of soccer, dance class or any other activity. However, many of the things that make a kid say “I want to quit” are easy to fix, once you know the source. Before throwing in the towel, check out this list and see if it sounds like your child. Maybe there’s an easy solution below!
Do you have a frustrated musician on your hands? What do you do when your child tells you that he or she wants to quit music lessons?
In many cases, I think we approach what I call “musical burnout” the wrong way– we fail to track down its source. As a former music student, I can attest that my own frustrations in grade school were normally “quick fixes.”
There are many reasons your child might get frustrated with music lessons, but here are a few common ones that I’ve heard over the years.
1. I WANT TO QUIT BECAUSE I’M BORED. Talk with your child’s teacher about finding ways to make lessons new and exciting again. Join a group performance class. Try a summer music camp. Even just starting a new genre of music can make a huge difference! There are tons of ways to spice up your child’s private lessons and make music exciting again. (For more ideas, click here and here).
2. I WANT TO QUIT BECAUSE I WILL NEVER USE MUSIC. Lies! Music lessons are a combination of art, mathematics, listening skills, communication skills, group work, hand-eye coordination and a host of other useful skills. Even if you don’t become a professional musician, those skills will benefit you wherever you go. If this sounds like your child, look for ways to connect his or her music lessons to the “real world” around him.
3. I WANT TO QUIT BECAUSE BAND/ORCHESTRA IS “UNCOOL.” I’ve met people who quit music lessons because they didn’t want to be labeled “music nerds” in middle or high school. And guess what? Later in life, they regretted caring so much about what the other kids thought! Remind your child that grade school is a very quick season of life, and encourage your child to pursue his or her passions regardless of what others might say. Help your child to see that the value of what they enjoy will outlast the criticisms of their school buddies!
4. I WANT TO QUIT BECAUSE I WILL NEVER GET IT RIGHT. Skills take time to cultivate! If your child is in a “I can’t do it” funk, remind them that most things in life are learned slowly. Babies take months to learn how to crawl. Kindergarteners spend a whole year learning how to read. Playing an instrument is no different! Encourage your child to persevere and let them know that you notice their efforts. You can also reward the small milestones in their lessons, like getting a new book or moving up to a better chair in orchestra.
At the end of the day, many of the frustrations young musicians experience are easy to overcome. Encourage your child to persevere, even through the “boring” seasons, and in time, the frustrations will turn back into love for the instrument. They did for me!
Here’s what we’ve noticed at Learning Allegro when our students try out new instruments during summer break. In the last few years, we’ve seen a surge of students at Learning Allegro who try a new instrument over the summer. We don’t blame them! Here are […]
Many public schools treat art and music extracurriculars. In fact, the arts are often defunded before subjects that really are extracurriculars, like sports. Why? In the scheme of global history, we’re really the first era to downplay art education. Our ancestors treated the arts just as […]
It’s no big surprise that most kids love music, but hate practicing. We often sell practice negatively, whether we mean to or not. We paint it as work (which is true), but fail to emphasize the room for discovery, improvement and fun within that work.
Like any good habit, practicing won’t be fun or convenient every single time your child picks up his or her instrument. However, with the right attitude, it can be not only enjoyable, but a creative outlet, a stress reliever and a channel for personal growth!
Here are a few quick ideas to help your young musician stay on task.
1. SCHEDULE PRACTICE TIME ON YOUR FAMILY CALENDAR. We understand how busy a week can get, but don’t let practicing fall through the cracks! Writing something on the calendar reinforces the importance of practicing to your child. It will also remind you, the parent, to check in and keep your child accountable!
2. BUILD UP TO LONGER PRACTICE TIMES. Is your child a wiggle worm? Start by having them practice in small increments and build up the time as they become more self-motivated. Even ten minutes a day can make a big difference! As your child can handle more time, add five minutes to the clock. Can you build up to twenty minutes a day? Thirty?
3. ENCOURAGE THEM TO EXPLORE — AFTER THE WORK IS DONE. If your child is playing the same two or three songs in lessons, he or she might be getting bored. Help your child find something fun to learn on his or her own–maybe a pop song or a clip from a movie soundtrack. After they’ve practiced their assigned songs, let them play around with the “fun music.” You can even encourage them to make up their own tunes! A bit of creativity can make practicing more fun–and your child will be refining his or her technique along the way.
4. HANDLE “BURNOUT” CREATIVELY. Everybody’s brain checks out eventually. Would a healthy snack help your child focus? What about stretching beforehand? If your child has had a long day, maybe he or she needs a “wiggle break” in the middle of practice time. One of my students practices 20 minutes per day–ten when she gets home from school and ten after dinner. Her parents have found that when they split up her practice session, she spends more time focused on the music and less time watching the clock.
5. FRAME PRACTICE AS A PRIVILEGE, NOT A CHORE. Instead of “You have to practice more,” try saying, “You get to take a break from homework and play some music!” If you frame practicing as a break, reward, or enjoyable task instead of one more thing on the laundry list, your child may be more enthusiastic about that thirty-minute window.
6. BE A CHEERLEADER. Total disclosure–even music teachers get tired of hearing the same song 75 times a day. It can be easy to “check out” while your child is playing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” in her room for the seventh day in a row. But don’t! Instead, find honest ways to praise your child– “The song is much smoother now!” or “I like that melody!” A little bit of praise goes a long way!
7. TALK TO YOUR CHILD’S TEACHER. If you’re really struggling to “find a groove” for practicing at home, reach out to your child’s school instructor or private lessons instructor. Most teachers interact with dozens of students per week–including kids who don’t practice much. Ask those teachers for advice! I guarantee they can help.
At Learning Allegro, we encourage students to love music in every situation, including school bands, private lessons, and independent study. For more information about toddler music classes, private instrument lessons and art sessions at Learning Allegro, visit our website.
IN TODAY’S POST, MISS HALEIGH TACKLES A COMMONLY-ASKED MUSIC QUESTION. One of my favorite parts about working at Learning Allegro is the diversity of the people I encounter every day. Music is one of those rare things that manages to pull people out of every […]