Sunday, September 4, 2011

Music lessons — hard work, so make sure they're fun

When Fiona MacPherson’s two young sons told her they wanted to quit piping, she was upset. "I asked why, and they said it wasn't fun," she said. After speaking with her husband — who is a musician — they decided it was important not to force their kids into it.So, the boys quit.

But a week later, Angus, 12, and Calum, 11, said they had made a mistake."It turned out to be me," said Fiona. "I made it so regimented that it wasn't fun for them." She asked them to write letters explaining why they wanted to return to lessons and when they did, she allowed them to continue. "Once we all adjusted, it was good," she said, admitting she needed to change her tactics a little. And it worked out.

And they don't need much prodding to work on their craft anymore. They practice at least half an hour every day. "Angus wakes up and he walks around while playing his practice chanter in the morning", she said. Making piping fun is an important part of their success.

Most parents with kids in lessons know that practicing is the most difficult part of the process. Distraction is the biggest enemy when it comes to practice. There’s video games, the Internet, friends. There are too many distractions with instant gratification. So use incentives that will make even these distractions a compliment to their practice regimens.

Most of all, make it fun!