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Help Your Child To Practice Music: Part 2

By Stephen Agnew, B.A., M.A.T.

As we approach the 2015-2016 school year it’s important to help your child to practice music in an area at home that is conducive to learning. As much as possible, the room should be quiet and free of distractions. Practice sessions will not be very productive if your child’s attention is frequently diverted by televisions, tablets or other devices. If your child plays his or her instrument while seated, be sure to choose an appropriate chair. If it has too many cushions, or if it reclines, it may lead to improper posture. Make sure the music stand is adjusted to a comfortable height for your child too. If possible, leave the instrument out and the sheet music and books on the music stand so your child can sit down and start practicing right away. Talk with your teacher and observe a few lessons, to notice proper performance techniques – this will help and assist with proper home practicing.

 

Parents should be reading the teacher’s notes from the lessons to ensure the child is practicing as directed. For younger children, parents may need to read the directions aloud for help. For older children, parents should make sure the child is reading and following the teacher’s practicing suggestions and guidelines throughout the week. Always observe diagrams or illustrations closely that your teacher may draw or point towards in an instructional book. Effective practicing rarely involves practicing a piece from beginning to end over and over. Rather, your teacher will suggest a particular section to practice and repeat to gain a specific skill set or overcome a challenging area within a piece of repertoire. Your child’s teacher may also suggest that your child count out loud or practice along with a metronome set to a specific tempo, or range of tempos. Comprehensive music instruction involves a lot of study and additional skills in music theory. If your child is learning music theory alongside the performing instrument, make sure your child is completing those assignments too. Help your child to practice music this school year and keep good communication with your child’s teacher on his or her weekly progress.

Founder of Music Notes Academy, a '12 NJSBDC award-winning community music school in East Brunswick, NJ. A teacher of music since '00, with degrees in music and education, specializing in curriculum and instruction.

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