Should Parents Stay In The Studio?
If you're new to Summit Academy of Music, you might notice that we have a policy of requiring parents in the room during the lesson. There are a bunch of great reasons why parents should be in lessons, observing and taking notes!
Children beginning piano or guitar are going to need guidance not just on what to practice, but how to practice. Most who start out think that they should just play a piece of music over and over again, speeding it up as quickly as possible until it's "perfect." This approach can lead to many hours spent playing passages that have already been mastered (and tiring of them!), and not enough time spent on more challenging sections, where the work is really needed.
Over time, these bad practice habits lead to students not truly gaining mastery of a piece, even after spending countless hours on it. Talk about frustrating!
Parents should be taking note of what passages get the most attention in lessons, and the practice methods used to master these sections. Often in piano lessons, I'll use backwards chaining, or a method that starts at the end of a section and works back, one beat or one measure at a time. If we study it this way in the lesson, it should be practiced this way at home, until the notes, phrasing, and fingerings are comfortable.
We love having parents be active in encouraging their young musicians to succeed and develop good practice habits. It's important, however, that during guitar or piano lessons, that parents remain silent observers. Discipline that needs to happen during a lesson should come only from the teacher, so that the student sees his/her instructor as someone deserving of respect and their full attention. Once out of the lesson environment, parents are encouraged to speak with their children if misbehavior is a frequent issue.
If you have any questions or suggestions during the music lesson, please hold them until the last few minutes. This is an ideal time to clear up any remaining questions without disrupting the lesson that has been planned that day. It's also a great time for the teacher to provide more information about how to guide the upcoming week's practice sessions. This time is super helpful so take advantage of it!
It's important that you as the parent be the coach at home as well, so that these habits develop early. Have you developed any great methods at home to encourage practicing or to make a game out of playing tricky sections of music? We'd love to hear them!