3 Tips for Non-musical Parents of Musical Children
Updated: Jun 19, 2019
I’ve seen the unsettled look in their eyes many times—the pride and relief that comes from finding that their child is truly talented and has real potential in music, mixed with the worry that they will not be able to provide enough of a support system to give their child the best chance of long-term success. With this blog post I aim to put those fears to rest by giving non-musical parents a few practical tips on how to encourage your child in their musical studies. Regardless of how lost you may feel when faced with this strange world of key signatures, chord symbols, debatable fingerings, and unseen beauty, YOU ARE ESSENTIAL to your musical child’s growth and continued progress.
Before we get into the tips I’ve prepared, there is one thing you should know: If you are trying to support your child by staying ahead of them in music, then that is a goal you should let go of right away. The mentality of “I have to always have more knowledge than my child, so that I always have something to teach them or challenge them with” is not helpful to your child and it will only frustrate you as time goes on. Embrace the reality that your child will one day and may already be ahead of you, and find better ways to support them. Here are three!
If your child ever asks to play for you, please make this a top priority. Put down whatever you’re doing and go listen to them for 5 or 10 minutes. This will make your child’s confidence soar and it will demonstrate your admiration of their skills. If they don’t ask you to listen, sneak in during their practice time and listen for a few minutes. Give them a hug and an encouraging word on your way out. This gift of time will do more for their progress in music than you may ever realize!
2. Ask Them to Teach You
We’ve all heard the adage “Watch one, do one, teach one.” This is how you really learn something. Asking your child to teach you a little about music will accomplish two things: First, it will help them to put what they are learning into their own words, thus solidifying the knowledge and potentially helping them to make connections they otherwise would not make. Second, it again demonstrates your admiration and your confidence in their skills.
3. Draw Attention to their Skills
This is one that you must treat carefully, because every music student is different. If your child loves performing and has no problem showing off, then have them play for all your guests. Make every effort to praise their skills publicly. If your child is easily embarrassed or a little shy, it could hurt them if you push too hard for them to show off for guests. However, you can make up for this by talking to friends and family about their talents—not in a way that pressures them to perform, but in a way that simply brags on their hard work and skills.
You are essential to your musical child's growth and continued progress.
Proper application of these three tips for non-musical parents can have an enormous impact. I would go so far as to say that a non-musical parent who seeks to support their child in truly effective ways is going to ultimately get better results than a musical parent who tries to be only a coach or a secondary music teacher, and not a source of confidence and encouragement.
Parents, you are the real heroes in the music world. You are the reasons that musical children become inspired artists.
Our instructors at Creative Melodies can help you learn or improve your piano practicing techniques, either in your home in Fort Mill and surrounding areas or online!