Dear parents, there is much to be said about making work FUN for students.
Now, the main topic is the MOTIVATION – the motivation for learning music.
After 42 years of teaching music, I have developed many insights that I’d love to share with my students and you, the parents. For nearly three decades, I devoted my life to teaching music and Russian in the former Soviet Union, where I ONLY used a traditional, classical teaching method. During the last ten years in the US, I have been a Suzuki teacher, a music teacher for children at risk, and a piano teacher at several successful music schools. Those years, from 2002 until now, have taught me about the importance of Motivating Parents.
a) Stay motivated. Never say, “My child isn’t really interested.” This is just your own inability to engage your child. He/she only works with a teacher two-three hours per month – you must use the rest of your child’s time for his/her best learning advantage!
b) Start by getting an instrument.
A second-hand keyboard can be used for a couple of months, until you realize that getting something more serious (for instance, a digital piano with weighted keys) is a good idea. There are also plenty of upright pianos on the web. Just get one!
c) Be present at the lessons: use a recording device or a video camera, and make notes. Let the instructor teach you together with your child! Don’t be afraid to learn.
d) With younger children (age 3-5), try to use the same tools at home that the teacher uses in class. Establish a system of rewards for each task and get the child to judge his/her own job realistically.
e) Praise a lot, but don’t over-praise. Instead of copious amounts of praise, teach your loved one how to honestly earn rewards. Children can tell when praise is insincere. They want to be judged fairly, or else they will ignore you and lose interest in the rewards as well.
f) With the youngest children, try to play the same assignment yourself and let your child give you the rewards you earn! It’s fun for them to be able to praise you.
g) Organize your child’s working time in such a way that he/she approaches the instrument two-three times a day and spends no less than 30-45 minutes a day practicing.
h) Don’t push your child to just practicing, as young children don’t understand what that means! Make sure they know what they are working towards.
i) Stay personal, appreciative and trusting towards the teacher, and she will open up: this way, you’ll develop a strong bond among your child, you, and the teacher!