Learning an Instrument
Learning an instrument and being able to play an instrument well can be an extremely rewarding and a life-enriching experience. However, like any worthwhile skill, it only comes with determination and hard work. This page offers advice to parents who have children embarking on their musical journey.
To succeed, music should not be at the bottom of your child’s list of curricular activities, it needs to be near the top and part of their daily routine.
- Hard work overrules talent – practicing the right way hard-wires the brain
- Learning an instrument is a long-term commitment – commit to 2+ years
- There will be tough patches – learn to overcome difficult challenges
If a child rarely practices their instrument at home, they will struggle to play it well and will eventually lose interest. When they lose interest, their life and your life will eventually become so untenable, that everyone involved (including their tutor) will want to give up.
This is particularly true of a brass instrument which requires the lips to be trained to accurately vibrate to produce each note. The lips need strength (‘match fitness’) and the brain needs to learn how to hear a note before it’s played and then co-ordinate the lips, breath and fingers/arm to create each note.
If the student has infrequent contact with their instrument, then their progress will be very slow. They need to allocate time outside of lessons and band to develop strength and practice their skills.
Establish a daily routine – same time every day. Frequent shorter periods of practice are much better than a single long practice session, say, once a week.
Advice to parents – What you can do
Encourage your child as they face the inevitable hurdles. Support them and be involved in their musical endeavours.
Persistence will see your child reap the rewards for a lifetime.