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MIDLANDS MUSIC SERVICES

The Midlands Community Award Winning Service

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The top 5 biggest problems facing a parent taking music lessons

Over the years teaching music, we have encountered a lot of questions from parents about what’s best for them or their child. In this document our team have put together the top 5 most asked questions and given our answers to them.

We understand that you may have many other questions that aren’t answered here. If that is the case feel free to call us on 0333 987 4321, or if you prefer one of the local office numbers (see above) and our team will be happy to help.

1) I have no musical knowledge, how do I help my child?

The most common problem faced with a parent is lack of knowledge yourself. This can have a big impact on your ability to help your child during their practice sessions and can often lead to frustration from parent and child.

The solution: Speak to your music tutor. Let them know that you have no musical knowledge and if they need to explain something to you again so it can be understood make them aware of that. You might also consider having a go yourself to experience what your child is going through and enjoying the time doing that. Music is a ‘team’ game and this time together with your child can be a similar experience to reading with them before they go to bed or a kick around in the park.

The biggest thing is not to get overly concerned about it and have a frank discussion with your music tutor should the need arise.

2) The cost of the lessons are quite expensive, why is this?

On the face of it music tuition can be expensive. If you break it down into your tutors expenses, university education, years of music lessons paid for themselves and the maintenance of instruments etc. you can soon see where the money is being spent.

The solution: Firstly, it is only expensive if it doesn’t work. A good music tutor will make sure investment is never wasted. if you’re wanting to take lessons and the cost looks a little high there are a number of avenues you could go down. Firstly, look around as the cost of lessons can vary.

This solution might not suit everyone as you largely get what you pay for in this industry and the higher educated, more experienced tutors will be more on the expensive side.

Speak to your school. Although music is currently under funded in mainstream schools there is still opportunity for your school to finance at least a proportion of your child’s instrumental tuition with the means of pupil premium funding etc. If they say no challenge them and explain your position. It very often works

With instrument cost go to your local music store and see what they can do, very often they will lease something to you for a reasonable monthly fee.

3) I’m struggling with the travelling to and from lessons.

This is quite a challenge for many parents with young children, not just with music lessons. In a world where there is so much for your child to do from martial arts to sports and music lessons to dance juggling everything can be a big problem.

The solution: Speak to your tutor to see how flexible they can be, sometimes they will have more than one time slot available and very often other lessons can be moved around to accommodate. If you explain the situation, show you understand that they have other children to teach and let them know you appreciate how awkward it is they will be as flexible as they can for you.

Alternatively there are plenty of music tutors who will come to your home. Be aware that this may well come at an additional small fee (to cover petrol and time from the tutors side) but it does relieve a lot of pressure for you to make sure you’re on time every week. Ask your tutor and see what they can do for you.

4) What academic benefits are there to my child taking music lessons?

There is no ‘solution’ to this question as such but it is something that we are repeatedly asked in this sector.

The academic benefits of music are often called into question, especially in the UK where schools are constantly having their music and arts budget cut. Music can be seen as a nice addition if you have time and isn’t seen for what it really is.

Music is many, many things and we could really go on for far too long answering this question but briefly put music is mathematical (time signatures and subdivision of rhythms which must be worked out instantly, not using a piece of paper), it is science (sound, pitch, length of tubes make different noises), it is languages (the terminology is often French, German, Italian and Latin. And as for reading the music itself, it’s anything but English), and it is physical education (the playing of an instrument requires extraordinary physical dexterity).

Most of all though, music is teaching social skills and creativity to a level that can’t be met with any other academic subject. It is teaching your child that making mistakes is common and needed to succeed in other areas of life. Every job and every role your child will ever take will require a large element of creative thinking and music can and will provide that.

5) How do I maintain my child’s interest?

We all know that children often flit from one thing to another and losing interest in any subject can be challenging. Once you have paid out for instruments and got them started the last thing you want to do is give it all up.

The solution: Very often it can be the approach taken towards the practice time and the lessons that needs to be changed. You will often find that your child’s reading time with you isn’t questioned but the practice on the trumpet is so look at the approach you take to the reading and try to replicate it. Join them in their practice, they’ll see a point to it then. Taking an active part in their practice will encourage them and can result in a fun time for parent and child.

Let them practice in short bursts, 30 minutes to a young child in one go is a lot so break it down to 10 minute chunks with games, instrument playing and technology (there are some very good music apps on the market) used in equal measure. Ask your tutor for games to play for your child’s ongoing learning.

These are the top 5 queries music tutors get every day.

If you have anything you would like answering please email hello@mms-music.co.uk and we will be happy to get back to you with a full and honest answer.