It’s been three months since your child’s first day in band or orchestra. At first, it was new and exciting, and music seemed to be ringing all through the house. But now, the newness has worn off and the progress is starting to slow down. How can you help keep the joy in your child’s music experience like he/she had in the beginning? Here’s how:
1. Be involved. This can be difficult with work schedules and the busy lives of other siblings. Listen to as many home practice sessions as you can, even if it has to be from the next room. Go to school concerts, take your kids to local symphony or high school concerts – especially those that feature the instrument your child is playing.
2. Remind him/her that like all things, progress requires work (home practice). Sometimes the work will be easier, sometimes it will be harder, but it will pay off!
3. Set practice times. Practice doesn’t need to take a lot of time. Consistency is the key. Start with 15 minutes, 5 days a week. As the pieces of music get harder, and more pieces are added, your child will need to add more practice time.
4. Set goals. These will change as your child’s skill level changes. For instance, is the goal today to play the notes more in tune? Practice longer? Your child’s band or orchestra teacher will give these goals to him. Find out what they are, and write them down in a little notebook. Cross them off as they’re done.
5. Get some fun music to inspire your budding musician! There are lots of books available for beginning players, and many of them come with play-along background CDs. Choose from holiday music, movie music, Disney tunes and more!