Closing the Gap Between Parents and Music Instructors

In this article, we want to help you understand how parents and instructors can work together to create a better outcome for the student. We address how instructors can involve parents, and how parents can work with instructors so that everyone is on the same page and working towards the goal of helping these future musicians succeed.

One of the biggest questions parents have is: “How can I help my child with their music lessons?” Don’t worry, as a company that markets online music lessons, we get this question a lot. That is why we want to address the topic publicly!

If your child is taking online music courses or meeting an instructor in person, it is important for the parents to know how to work with their child’s instructor. Getting involved as a parent does not mean you have to sit in and participate in every lesson or practice session (although it is not a bad idea every once in a while). On the other side of the relationship, instructors also need to collaborate with the parents just as much as they do with the child. Below, we focus more on what instructors AND parents can do in order to establish meaningful interaction that ultimately benefits the student the most.

Parents to Instructors

Much like the points above for the instructors, parents have similar responsibilities. As the parent of your musical child, you are not required to have music skills but you can help hold your child accountable. Some of the things you can do to coordinate better with the instructor are as follows:

  • At the beginning of your child’s music lessons, you should ask the instructor if you can sit down and discuss goals. Tell the instructor you would like to be involved in your child’s music lessons and ask how they would like you to participate. Continue to sit down with the instructor on occasion to discuss your child’s progress and things you can do to further help them progress.
  • Your child’s instructor knows best when it comes to music, but you are the one that hears them practicing every day. You are your child’s biggest advocate. If you sense a problem, or frustration you can address it with the instructor to see what you both can do to help your child improve. However, your child’s instructor is a professional, so you should also respect their methods in teaching.
  • Be your child’s #1 fan! You should be encouraging and positive and help them to succeed. Get involved in your own way but do not forget that you have a responsibility to help your child feel confident in their skill. Music is a marathon, not a sprint. Remember that music lessons aren’t mastered in a week. Your child needs you to work with them and be there the whole way.
  • Follow up on your child and the instructor’s goals. If your child’s instructor gives them the goal to practice for 30 minutes every day, you should encourage them to do so—hold them accountable when they don’t.

However involved you want to be as a parent, you need to discuss that with the instructor. They need to know how involved you want to be, and then you need to uphold your end of the deal. If you want to participate in practices or lessons, you need to be there, and not be a distraction.

Instructors to Parents

It is absolutely vital for you, the instructor, to personally communicate with your students’ parents. The biggest reason is so that you and the parents are on the same page throughout the music lessons. They need you to tell them how they can help reinforce the principles you’re teaching when they are back at home. Some helpful pointers to get on the same page is as follows:

  • Invite parents to sit in on lessons every so often (depending on yours, the student’s, and the parent’s comfort level). Let them know in advance so they can plan on attending the lesson and so the student will also be well-prepared.
  • Be open with the parents! Consider hosting a “parent’s lesson” once a month where you can teach the parents how to help their child improve at home. Help the parents understand the combined goals you and the students have set for their music lessons—this will help them know how to push and motivate their child.
  • Send a progress report home with the students. This is a moment for you to brag about how great the students are doing and offer some ideas of how the parents can help their children. Give specific things the child needs help with at home, and so on. If you’re working on keeping the proper posture in this week’s music lessons, tell the parents that so they can remind their child while practicing.

Whatever you decide to do as an instructor, most importantly, you should communicate with the parents. Find out if they are reminding their child to practice and how committed they are to the lessons. By remaining on the same page, you’ll be assured that the student is being held responsible at home and the results will show.

Parents and Online Music Courses

Online music courses may seem daunting because they lack an instructor in the traditional sense. As a parent, you should be involved in every step of your child’s online music education. You need to hold your child accountable as a normal instructor would. As you start these programs, sit down with your child to see what they would like to accomplish and then set goals with them. Your child needs to feel motivation and encouragement. The remaining points will help you accomplish this:

  • At the beginning of every week, sit down with your child and evaluate their progress on their goals. Make sure their goals are measurable, then measure them. If they don’t hit their goal, make a game plan for how you can work together to help your child reach this goal.
  • Consider participating in the lessons with your child! These online lessons make it possible for you to do things together. Pick up an instrument and see if you can help each other figure it out!

These lessons are specifically designed to help you work together, but most importantly for your child to succeed in the best way that they can! Help your child put their best foot forward by getting involved in the journey! Whatever your role is in a child’s instrumental progress, be sure to enable solid communication between either the parent or instructor. The results will speak for themselves as you see the child progress significantly.

This blog article was originally posted on the Musicians Toolkit Blog. 

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