A Parent’s Guide To Enhancing Your Child’s Musical Experience
CONGRATULATIONS: Your decision to provide your child with a quality musical instrument is an investment in your child’s future. In making it possible for your child to play a musical instrument, you are providing the opportunity for self-expression, creativity and achievement. Numerous studies indicate parental attitude, support and involvement are important factors in a child’s ability to successfully learn to play and to enjoy music.
These guidelines are designed to assist you in giving your child the best support possible for his or her musical endeavors. Like any skill, interest counts far more than talent. With the right support from you, playing music will become a natural part of your child’s life.
Why should my child be in band?
- A ten year study indicates students who study music achieve higher test scores regardless of socioeconomic background. - Dr. James Catterall, UCLA
- At-risk children participating in an arts program that includes music show significant increases in self-concept, as measured by the Piers-Harris Children's Self-Concept Scale. - Project ARISE: Meeting the needs of disadvantaged students through the arts. Auburn University
- The part of the brain responsible for planning, foresight, and coordination is substantially larger for instrumental musicians than for the general public. (from "Music on the Mind", Newsweek Magazine).
- Taking a music elective course is a better indicator that a student will stay in college than high SAT scores or a high GPA. (Dr. Denise Gardner, Georgia Tech).
- Researchers at the University of California and the Niigata Brain Research Institute in Japan ahve found an area of the brain that is activated only when reading music. (from NeuroReport, 1998)
- Practicing musicians demonstrate 25% more brain activity than non-musicians when listening to music. (from "Exposure to Music is Instrumental to the Brain", University of Muenster)
- A ten year study indicates that students who study music achieve higher test scores, regardless of socioeconomic background. (Dr. James Catterall, UCLA)
- Students with good rhythmic performance ability can more easily differentiate between patterns in math, music, science, and visual arts. (TCAMS Professional Resource Center)
For your child, music participation enhances:
- Problem solving
- Memory skills
- Self-confidence and esteem
- And much, much more!
For your family, a child’s music study also offers opportunities for shared family experiences, including:
- Music event attendance
- Family music making
- Performing for and with family and friends
- Learning about the lives of composers and cultural heritage of many civilizations
- A sense of accomplishment and pride for te entire family
How and when do we get an instrument?
- Once we've decided what instrument your child will play, I will send home detailed information on the different ways to obtain an instrument. In short, you can purchase an instrument, participate in "rent-to-own" programs offered by local music stores, or get one from a neighbor or an older sibling. The school also has a limited number of instruments available to borrow for students with financial need. I have never had a student who had to quit band because they didn't have an instrument.
- If you are thinking of purchasing an instrument, see below for recommended brands for different instruments. You can find instruments for low prices at local department stores and online, but remember -- you get what you pay for. An instrument with a low sticker price may have a low sticker price because of poor workmanship and subpar materials. The materials these instruments are made of are often so inferior that repair technicians won't or can't work on them. You also want to get an instrument for which repair or replacement parts are easily available. There are several brands which are high quality brands, but the parts can only be obtained from overseas, resulting in higher repair costs and longer time without an instrument.
- If you are looking at an instrument online or in a local shop (like a pawn shop), feel free to contact me and I will give you any information I can to help you know if it's a quality instrument for a reasonable price.
Recommended Instrument Brands
These are not the only reputable brands, but have been found over the years to be durable, easy to repair, and of sound quality.
- Flute: Gemeindhardt and Yamaha
- Clarinet: Buffet, Yamaha, Selmer, LeBlanc
- Alto Saxophone: Yamaha, Selmer
- Trumpet: Yamaha, Bach/Selmer, King, Holton, Conn
- Trombone: Yamaha, Bach/Selmer, King, Holton, Conn
How you fit in as a Parent
Your support is an essential element in your child’s success with music study.
- Schedule practice times
- Music achievement requires effort over a period of time. You can help your child by:
- Providing a quiet place for practice
- Remaining nearby during practice times as often as possible
- Scheduling a consistent, daily time for practice
- Praising your child’s efforts and achievements
To give your child the best possible support, you should:
- Encourage your child to play for family and friends.
- Offer compliments and encouragement regularly.
- Expose your child to a wide variety of music, including concerts and recitals.
- Encourage your child to talk with you about his or her lessons.
- Make sure your child’s instrument is always in good working condition.
- Allow your child to play many types of music, not just study pieces.
- Listen to your child practice, and acknowledge improvement.
- Help your child build a personal music library.
- Try to get your child to make a minimum two-year commitment to his or her music studies.
Your child’s progress will be greatly enhanced if you :
- Don’t use practice as punishment.
- Don’t insist your child play for others when he or she doesn’t want to.
- Don’t ridicule or make fun of mistakes or less-than-perfect playing.
- Don’t apologize to others for your child’s weak performance.
- Don’t start your child on an instrument that’s in poor working condition.
- Don’t expect rapid progress and development in the beginning.