The teacher, child and parents form of triangle in the music learning process. All three sides of the triangle must be strong to make lessons successful. Each side contributes in different ways.
Teacher: Contributes knowledge of subject matter and professional expertise.
Child: Contributes natural learning abilities and interest in subject matter.
Parents: Contributes support to both the teacher and child through understanding of the process, cooperation with the teacher and assistance to the child.
Role of the Teacher
The teacher is an important role model for the child during the early years. The relaxed atmosphere of the lesson helps the child during the early years. The relaxed atmosphere of the lesson helps the child form a long term memory of the pleasure associated with music and piano. Teaching young children can be very rewarding and requires a special interest and commitment to this age group.
Role of the Parents
Parents play a very important role in music lessons for young children. Lessons are a total partnership between the child and the parents. Some teachers encourage parents to attend the lessons with children. Even if parents do not attend lessons, they must keep in close contact with the teacher and share in the learning process at home. When parents attend lessons, they can aid the child in locating the appropriate materials in the lesson and have a better understanding of how to help in practice at home. As a minimum, during practice time parents will have to guide the order of things to practice and read directions to the student. The practice time is an important time for sharing and bonding between parents and the child. The following points further define the role of parents in piano study:
1. Parents are responsible for getting the children to the lesson on time with all the necessary materials. Regular attendance is very important for success.
2. At home, the parents should look through the books with the child. They should discuss the pictures in the books with the child, read the story in the music lesson book to him/her and listen to the CD’s together as a family.
3. Parents should understand that the child’s interest in music lessons may not maintain a steady pace. The interest will vary from week to week. Parents play a supportive role in encouraging this interest while understanding that is normal for interest to waiver. Attendance at lessons and practice at home are required activities for the child. Parents should never ask the child if he/she wants to practice or go to the lesson.
4. When attending and participating in lessons with the child, parents must respond to the music themselves rather than “prodding”the child. In addition, adult conversation in the lesson should be restricted. Parents should participate in lessons but not dominate them.
5. Communication with the teacher is very important for student success.
6. Parents should be supportive of lessons yet be non judgemental about the child’s learning style and abilities. Encourage all class members while avoiding comparisons and competition with other children.
7. Parents are responsible for helping the child practice at home. The biggest challenges will be finding time for practice in today’s busy life and keeping the practice exciting and fresh each day. Practice should be 10-15minutes each day at a specific time with no interference from the TV, computer, Ipad or other family members. The parents should sit near the child during the practice time so that the child doesn’t feel isolated.