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!


Iain MacDonald said...

Making piping/drumming fun has been a focus/goal of the program that I have been teaching for the past several years. We have excellent instructors, and they know that one of their jobs is to engage kids and make band a fun place to be....for all different kinds of personality types. So, from the the beginner chanter and pad class to the competition band, we talk about other things we do, swap jokes, march like the Assam Rifles video, call each other by our second names, do improv warm ups, play tunes with our hands reversed, and generally just try to cram as much learning and fun combined as we can in the 2 hours we have each week. If band isn't fun, what is the point?

The Captain's Corner said...

Spot on Iain.... the kids, themselves must enjoy the experience. So many times, I have to counsel parents in their encouragement of their kids (or lack of it). It must be the kids' activity, not the parents!..... and fun is the bottom line.... good on ya!

The Scottish Link Years

Chapter 2 The Scottish Link Pipe Band (SLPB) came into being in July 1995, with five pipers and four drummers, at a musical festival ...