Is your child learning an instrument? Is she a music student? The early study of a new instrument can be quite a challenge. Throw together fine motor skills and a new language. The physical limitations can feel shocking. If your child was really excited about playing chances are the sounds she hears in her mind are miles away from the sounds you hear from inside the practice room. She needs your help to travel that road. You can help her become much more than a struggling student. You can help her become a musician.
This is a work in progress. Even Michelangelo said, "I am still learning." We all wake up every morning and try. And along the way we look for inspiration. A musician is taking a long, creative journey. You can't really distinguish between the practice and the art. So how do we support the study while encouraging a creative identity?
For parents and teachers, it's understood that a specific level of commitment is required for progress. There's a fine line between sharing our youngster's enthusiasm and setting expectations. If your child has extended himself by choosing an art then we need to honor that. This creative expression will become part of his identity and will flourish when nurtured. If this is a work in progress how can we offer structure while nudging him toward creative flight?
I was prone to dwell on my parent's negative comments. "When are you going to learn vibrato? All your friends know how," and "your scales sound good on the way up but they're always out of tune on the way down." Artists can be fragile souls. I'm ashamed to admit, I was such a practice ogre that my own son had a heavyhearted request for his 8th birthday present. "Can I please quit guitar?" Ouch.
How can we offer welcome support? Set a dedicated time and place for practice. If you are involved in the practice sessions try to make at least one positive comment first. Get your student involved by offering choices like, "Do you think it would be better if we tried it this way?" Keep it positive. This is about nurturing. Lots of supportive parents can't carry a tune and don't have a musical bone in their body. That's ok. Share music together. All kinds of music. And most of all, remember that true support begins with making sure you believe he's a musician.
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