How To choose The Best Musical Program For Your Child

Our kids have a huge selection of after-school activities these days. As a mom, I find myself driving my kids at least ten times in one week to at least 20 different activities. The variety is endless, but time and money are limited, not to mention the toll these activities take on social interactions between kids in the afternoon.

Nevertheless, musical activities are in high demand, mostly because music helps the cognitive and emotional development of the child. There is also the added benefit of learning how to express oneself creatively in front of a large audience. Parents feel proud and excited when they attend their kid’s recital and listen to the fruit of their musical efforts.

Many parents prefer to have musical lessons at home, so that they can have one less activity to drive their kids to. It is more convenient to bring a music teacher home.

Here are some points to help you make an informed decision on whether to teach your kid music at home or send them to a formal program:

1. Formal programs, such as local conservatories, hold themselves to a high standard of teaching. As a parent, you may feel uncomfortable seeing your child putting many hours of practice before a concert and getting emotional about it, not to mention taking a test to continue to the next year. But you must remember that these factors force the teachers to make sure they teach at a high standard as well.

2. Conservatories and schools include in their programs two important parts, which may help beginners and intermediate students:

* Group interactions, such as orchestras and ensembles.

* Theoretic information  through listening and learning music theory.

The social interaction during playing music helps keep the level of motivation for playing and practicing. Even for us, adults, it is hard to keep up the motivation when we do things on our own, without the feedback of others.

The theoretic lessons deepens the musical knowledge of the child and expands their cultural horizon’; a great development for every person.

3. All activities are included in the same tuition. There are no unexpected costs.

At the same time, a private music teacher offers some advantages as well:

1. The price of private lessons is often lower and easier to control than the one of a program at a local school. (You pay per lesson.)

2. The atmosphere at home or at the teacher’s house can be friendlier and the emotional connection deeper. The teacher can become part of the family and the kid may feel less threatened and freer than in a formal setting.

3. A private teacher can create a pace suitable for the kid’s personal progress, without having to answer to official standards. The kid gets full attention and there are no tests.

4. A private teacher can teach the kid different kinds of music, according to what the kid likes. There is no official program to follow. This way, the kid can have a deeper emotional and intuitive connection with the music.

5. A private teacher can start a concert in the kid’s home, a less threatening and more intimate setting.

6. At a more advanced stage, you can decide to combine the private lessons with participation in an orchestra or ensemble.

7. And let’s not forget the issue of convenience. Lessons at home or at the teacher’s house, which may be nearby, create a better chance for a consistent schedule, as well as progress.

In any case, when you choose a music teacher, the most crucial factor is the connection between your child and the teacher. I will write more about that next time.

Good luck,

And don’t forget to share your experiences with me and the other readers of the blog!

Yours,

Maya Liberman

 

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3 thoughts on “How To choose The Best Musical Program For Your Child

  1. It should not be assumed that families or students can “control” the expense of instruction by having individual instruction arranged with a “private teacher”– because they will “pay only for the lessons taken.” There should be a schedule of lessons, with a regular appointment, so many in a given number of weeks or months, and the lessons should be paid for accordingly, preferably in advance. The teacher’s time has been bought, and the teacher should not lose the lesson fee when the student skips a lesson. Also, it is just as important for lessons to be regular on the private instruction basis as on any other. With private instruction there can be many opportunities for the “social” rxperience and also for ensemble work. And why assume the teacher should come to the student’s home? The teacher probably has more teaching resources at his or her home or studio than the family has in their home.

  2. You point out some excellent advantages for lessons with a private teacher — friendly setting, customized lessons, etc. However, as a private music teacher myself, I must say that I treat my teaching studio as a business. Students pay per semester or monthly (not per lesson — i.e. not at their convenience); theory, performance, duets and ensembles are encouraged from the very beginning (you state that that’s usually only found in conservatories). While finding a private music teacher can be more convenient (same neighborhood, perhaps), that’s not a valid reason to pick a teacher.

    Teachers vary greatly, and as you state in your last paragraph, “The most crucial factor is the connection between your child and the teacher.” I look forward to reading your next article on that topic; I completely agree with that statement.

    And I believe another crucial factor in choosing a teacher should be the value you receive as a student. Students should ask themselves what they want to accomplish with music lessons. I always ask potential students that question, and I encourage all my students to work toward a goal. Do they want to play for the jazz band or school choir? Perhaps in the worship band at church or even a local rock band? Or do they simply want to play for their own enjoyment and relaxation? Students should look for the right teacher who can help them achieve their music goals. Having a goal for taking music lessons keeps them focused and interested. I’ve found that students who simply want something else to fill their time aren’t ideal students and don’t stick with lessons very long.

    You state, “The social interaction during playing music helps keep the level of motivation for playing and practicing.” I agree that playing with others in a band or orchestra setting gives students a wonderful sense of satisfaction and delight in their accomplishment and should be encouraged. However, practicing is a solitary event, and students must have time alone with their instrument to reach a level of excellence and polish that’s necessary for the skill it takes to play well. Playing an instrument may not be the best answer for students who are searching for an activity with social interaction.

    Dana Martin
    http://pianodana.com

  3. Pingback: How To Make Music Practicing Fun Instead of Torment | My Musical Talent

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