How to Keep Your Child Engaged in Music Lessons
Most students start out very enthused about music lessons, but may lose some of their initial excitement a few months into practicing. It's important for parents and teachers to have good communication about what is going well and what could use more help. There are many ways to learn and practice music, find out which is the best for your student!
Assess the material
Make sure that the material your student is working on is appropriate for their skill level. Your student needs to be challenged, but not so much that playing music becomes a tedious chore. Give the student some material that they can succeed with quickly, as well as pieces that will take more time to perfect.
I have often found that my very young students get frustrated when we first start learning how to read music. This is because there is now another step involved in playing music: they have to first identify the note on the staff, then locate the note on the piano. There is no secret trick to sight-reading other than lots of practice at reading notes until it becomes automatic. This process can be made more fun by incorporating lots of reading games into practice and making sure the material doesn't move to fast (especially for young students).
Have a goal
It's hard to practice for months on end with no goal in mind. Recitals are a wonderful opportunity for students to show their hard work. Even though recitals can be a little nerve-racking at first, students are so excited after they perform well. Mini performances for family and friends are a nice way to break up the time between recitals.
I have some students that enjoy the structure of our lesson book and others that get excited by different genres of music. Some students love to sing and play their instrument at the same time. There are many simple songs on the radio that can be tons of fun to learn. If a student is learning to read music I will often transcribe one of their favorite songs into sheet music (simplifying it to their level), this is also nice because they already know the melody.
There are many contexts in which music can be taught, it's the teacher's job to find out which methods are most fun for a particular student. Quarter notes can be taught from a theory book but also by banging on pots and pans. Intervals can be taught from a long explanation but also in the context of a Beatles song. One of the games my students enjoy most is playing flashcards and running to the piano from the other side of the room to play the note on the keys. The simple act of being able to run in between cards makes it a fun game rather than a tedious flashcard quiz.
Help With Practice
Many young students don't know effective ways to practice. They may avoid the difficult parts of the piece and just play the parts they already know. With gentle guidance from parents students can feel more successful about the work they put into practicing.