As you might have guessed, a child that doesn’t spend a lot of time practicing his or her lesson is not uncommon. Actually, it’s less common for the situation to be handled in an effective manner, whether that be on behalf of the parent, teacher, or both.
“You’d better practice a half hour a day or I’m not paying for those lessons anymore!”
“Why haven’t you practiced the piano today? I told you three times already!”
“If you’re not going to practice, you’re not going to take lessons.”
Although there may be some good intentions hidden behind statements like those, what goes unacknowledged all too often is the message really being conveyed to the child. If your little musician isn’t spending time practicing, there’s at least one reason behind it, and it’s well worth investigating why the motivation isn’t there. Of course, it’s natural for you to want to see your investment pay off. However, threatening that the privilege will be taken away is not a a way to motivate – at least for the long term. It’s good news to know that you can use your child’s experience with his or her lessons as a vehicle for nurturing your relationship at home. By taking a tactful approach, you just may find yourself learning something as it related to what makes the youngster respond to situations and why.
A mistake is to immediately impose blame on the child. The act of blaming wastes energy. Communication is where it’s at and it should be done in a fashion that makes the child feel important. Remember, in perspective, he or she has the most important role in this situation, so at least give that much respect.
How? Firstly, consider that fact that a person’s actions and a person’s value are not the same. Confusing the two has been responsible for a dysfunctional childhood in all too many homes. It’s a great time to have a quality conversation with your son or daughter, making it clear that his or her perspective is being respected. When the respect is there, an individual (child or adult) is more likely to be open to speaking from a premise of truth rather than being on the defense. Listen to what is being said.
Once you have gotten your child’s side of the story, have a conversation with the teacher. Having exposed yourself to both sides could very well prove to be rather eye-opening as to what is really responsible for the lack of enthusiasm. Often is the case when the quality of communication and rapport between the teacher and student is what’s causing the issue. Just because the teacher is in the “authoritative” role doesn’t automatically make him or her infallible. Many teacher have limitations when it comes to dealing with certain individuals. Some instructors have one way of presenting themselves, without the ability to adapt to different personalities. Again, if this is the situation, blame isn’t the answer. Perhaps it’s time to move on and seek out a different teacher. Do not allow one experience with one teacher to be the determining factor as to whether or not your child continues with music.
You may find that the lesson material being given to your son or daughter is not interesting enough. Yes, it’s true that certain fundamentals need to be learned while studying an instrument (or anything else) but the way it’s presented can vary and, sometimes, it’s takes a different person to do the presenting. There are teachers who have a flexible mind set when it comes dealing with different situations. That said, there are many teachers who don’t have this flexibility, as they expect the student to do it their way, regardless of what it feels like to “have to do it.”
Whatever your particular circumstance, #1 on the list is quality communication. Being open and willing to learn more about your child and what makes him or her “tick” will reveal what you need to know. Remember, learning music should be fun. Learning anything should be fun. When you are devoted to a course of action where that is the primary goal, then the results you are faced with will be nothing but positive.
Posted in: Choosing A Piano Teacher, Piano Lesson For Kids, Practicing Piano, Starting Piano Lessons | Tags: communication, learning piano, motivation, piano lessons for children, piano lessons for kids, practice piano, practicing piano