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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 […]
What do you do when your child is taking music lessons, but you don’t consider yourself a “musical person?” How can you make sure your child is truly progressing? Miss Haleigh returns to the Learning Allegro Blog to tackle this common question.
I grew up with musical parents. My dad has an amazing ear and hails from a long line of musicians with perfect pitch. My mom CLAIMS she can’t carry a tune, but I inherited that perfect pitch gene, and I can attest that she’s more musical than she thinks. I also had the influence of my grandfather, an orchestra violinist, and several musical siblings in my life at an early age. In other words, as far as growing up with music goes, I hit the jackpot.
That’s not the case for everybody. I’ve met many parents over the years who worry that their own lack of musical ability (or even interest) will keep their children from reaching their full potential as musicians. It’s true that having a musical parent is handy, especially when you’re learning music theory, but I promise it’s not the deciding factor in your child’s musical future.
With that in mind, here are a few common concerns I have heard from parents that need to be addressed:
1. I DON’T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT MUSIC.
That’s okay! My younger brother is currently majoring in finance at a state school. I know nothing about finance — but it doesn’t stop me from supporting him and appreciating his passion. It’s okay if your child can read sheet music better than you, or if you don’t know too much about technique. Your support and encouragement can honestly go just as far as a crash course in technique or theory.
2. I DON’T LIKE HOW IT SOUNDS WHEN MY KID IS PRACTICING.
Okay, music teachers get this one. As much as we love our students, anyone can get tired of “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” after hearing it 500 times! Remind yourself that the season of squeaky notes and nursery rhymes is short, especially if your child loves his or her lessons. The more they enjoy themselves, the more they will practice! The more they practice, the more enjoyable their music will sound to everyone around them.
You can also ask questions (kindly!) to steer your child in the right direction–questions like “Are you sure that’s the proper note?” or “How did your teacher ask you to hold your bow?” Those questions allow your child to “teach” a little by relaying the information to you, and they should also help correct the sour notes.
3. I DON’T FEEL EQUIPPED TO HELP MY CHILD AT HOME.
There are plenty of ways to troubleshoot this one. The best way is to sit in on your child’s lessons. Listen to the teacher’s dialogue with your child and take a few notes. It’s amazing how much you can learn as a fly on the wall! You can also check out some simple theory videos on Youtube or find a theory app for your smartphone.
When I was taking algebra in grade school, my mom bought herself an algebra textbook and would teach herself the problems at night while we were asleep. She always managed to stay one step ahead of us–and it was a huge help! I’m not suggesting you lose sleep over your kids’ lessons, but I do believe that a little bit of self-education can go a long way and make you a more confident source of support for your young musician.
4. I’M NOT REALLY INTO THE MUSICAL GENRE MY CHILD IS LEARNING.
If your child is learning an orchestra instrument, he or she will probably get a foundation in classical music because it really is the best technical training you can get. Country, pop, and fiddle are all fun, but they don’t typically test your skillset as thoroughly as classical music does. If your child is learning a genre you don’t particularly enjoy, that’s okay. Again, your support is the main thing
You might find, however, that you enjoy it more than you think. Do a little research! Play the classical/folk/rock and roll songs around your house. The more you expose yourself to the genre your child is playing, the more you will be able to appreciate it.
5. IT’S TOO HARD (OR TOO LATE) FOR ME TO LEARN THIS KIND OF THING.
Nope! Some of my favorite students are parents who wanted to cross “play piano” off their bucket lists. You can do this! More specifically, you can learn to enjoy your child’s passion. Why not try classes for a month or two? It’s a good way to give yourself some “me time” while challenging your brain, learning a new skill, and entering the musical world of your son or daughter.
For more information about lessons at Learning Allegro, click here!
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If you’ve managed to pull out of your Thanksgiving food coma, congratulations! You’ve come to your senses just in time for everyone’s favorite month-long shopping spree — that dreaded stretch between Thanksgiving and Christmas. At least there’s Christmas music on every radio station. That should make the shopping trips easier…right?
Let’s face it — there are plenty of great gifts out on the market between now and Christmas morning, and most of them will look great under the tree in your living room. You might even find a few great toys or gadgets that hold your kid’s attention long-term.
But what if there was another way to give — a way that emphasized fun, learning and personal growth over the simple accumulation of “stuff?”
It’s not too good to be true! It’s called giving an experience.
This isn’t exactly a new concept. There are plenty of parents out there who have started slipping experiences “under the tree” alongside the sweaters and Lego sets. Maybe that experience is a weekend at Grandma’s. Maybe it’s tickets to a play or a movie. It could even be something as simple as offering to let them try horseback lessons or music lessons for a month or two.
At Learning Allegro, we are proud to offer services like instrument rentals, private music lessons, and merchandise that help families put an experience under the tree. Over the years, we’ve especially received positive feedback from parents who use the holidays as a chance to give their child a few months of private music lessons.
There are plenty of great reasons to gift an experience over a toy, game, or new clothing:
- They teach your child that gifts don’t always come in boxes. Time with a friend, practicing a new skill, and going on adventures are also valid gestures of love!
- They unlock your child’s talents. If your kid has always wanted to play guitar, a few months of guitar lessons are a great way to give that passion room for growth. It also lets your child unlock his or her inner explorer as they try new things!
- They will grow with your child. One of my grandparents used to give us ski resort passes for Christmas. Today, I’m still an avid skiier — and so are many of my siblings — because of the experiences they gifted us as kids. When you give your child a chance to try a new skill, you might also be giving them a passion or hobby they can enjoy well into adulthood.
- Making lessons a gift communicates that learning is an enjoyable experience. It’s no secret that many kids don’t like to practice…but when lessons are presented to them as a gift, it often helps young learners to adopt a new perspective and see those lessons as something that is meant to be enjoyed. That perspective can make practicing much more fun — which leads to a more serious (and skilled) musician!
- No batteries necessary. Need I say more?
If you’d like more information about how you can give a gift that encourages your son or daughter’s musical talents, creative skills, or appreciation for art, check out our website or give us a call (484-341-8842).
Although most of the lessons we teach at Learning Allegro are one-on-one with students, we get questions from time to time about group classes (which yes, we do teach). Are there any benefits to putting your child in a group setting to learn an instrument? […]