Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Music lessons: A month of parenting

My nephew who is also learning the trombone. Image from Maxabella loves
The opportunity to learn an instrument was high on my list of opportunities* I wanted to provide for our children. I have read that seven years old is the optimal time to start music lessons, and lucky for us, our children's school has a fantastic band program. Nugget signed up to band this year and has been allocated the trombone.

After an initial burst of enthusiasm, which lasted approximately one week, the drudge of trombone practice has already created several moments of conflict in the household. While Nugget is super keen to be a band member, he is not showing commitment to actually learning the instrument he needs to play in the band! Not optimal!

In order to learn his instrument, Nugget is expected to practise for short periods regularly. It has become clear to us, very quickly, that he cannot be left to his own devices! We need to help him establish a routine. So here's what we are trying to do:

1. We are trying to establish regular practice times.
2. We are setting specific goals for each session e.g. You need to practise {insert notes} for four counts each.
3. We are using multi-media (e.g. CD, youtube) to support his teacher's notes.
4. We are using a LOT of praise (and believe me, there isn't always stuff to praise but the old speechie trick "you are sitting up so well" has been used!)
5. We are focusing on the long notes before getting him to master the shorter ones.
6. Each session consists of a warm-up, specific goals, and a bit of fun.

It isn't proving a lot of fun thus far, but I am sure that once he has learnt the notes, has developed some consistency in the sounds that come out of the instrument and can start buzzing some tunes, Nugget will be hooked.

Only three children to go...

Do you have experience with children's music lessons? Any tips for newbies?

* Other things on the list include: learn another language and learn to touch type. I haven't had any joy with either yet unless you count me teaching them to count to ten in German?


Anonymous said...

As soon as he can play a tune, he'll be on his way. It takes a little while to get the ball rolling with music. We haven't started with any of our kids yet, but I played three instruments in primary/secondary school and I loved it.

Sarah said...

I have one redundant drum kit and two redundant guitars due to waning enthusiasm - learning an instrument is tough and takes dedication. Life would be so much more fun if I could just sit down and play the piano (which in my head I can!).

Keep up the encouragement, once he gets really started I'm sure he'll love it.

Maxabella said...

Hello Max! x

seana said...

I was dead keen for my kids to learn an instrument, after all my dad and brother and grandad were really musical. Alas, that old bloody genetic glitch... and piano lessons at primary were a dismal failure.

Then - tada - at high school, Giant Teen wanted to play drums, so he did and still does, and then bagpipes and guitar, and now he spends a lot of time playing. Teen13 also at high school wanted to play guitar so he does.

My lesson has been that GiantTeen and his genetic glitch get round to things in their own time, and it's well worth being patient.

And with the twins, now 7, I haven't the patience to make or even encourage them to play... but I do have the patience to wait until they choose to. I'm being with way with all activities... just to be practical as there are 4 of them... they can do stuff if they REALLY want to... but only if they want to.

E. said...

Boy Child joined his primary school band in Year 5. He was allocated the Tuba. We had issues with practising (it rarely happened) and discovered after about 12 months that he had missed the lessons on reading music.

He kept it up for the agreed 2 years but no longer wanted be part of a band. That said he has loved learning guitar and keyboard (he had about 12 months of lessons aged about 7) but has basically taught himself.

Rachel Matteson said...

I think he needs a good teacher to teach him how to play the trombone properly. It is good that he has developed an interest in music at an early age but he still needs proper guidance from the right instructor. That way, he will learn how to play in a step by step basis. :)

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