Hello first timers!!!! Welcome to the world of the first year band parent. Just think, if you played in the band as a kid, then you know what your child is experiencing. If you never got the chance, you and your child are in uncharted waters, but don’t let that stop you!
I want to help you jump into the band experience. It is important to support and guide your student through a very interesting time. Learning to play a musical instrument takes dedication and practice, but is well worth the effort to help your student become a constructive member of the school band. Your child could have years of fun, learning, and even travel, as part of the band. If you have no prior experience, here is some advice for you.
#1. You and your student must commit for a year to the band program. It takes a good school year for solid learning to happen. Once the novelty of a new instrument wears off, reality takes over, and students may become discouraged at a lack of progress, even if they are practicing regularly. This is where parents must be around to offer encouragement. Once your student has experienced a year of participating in the band, he/she will have a clearer view of what lies ahead. Then they can honestly choose whether or not to continue in band try something new. You are helping your child develop persistence, coping skills, cooperation, and decision-making.
#2. Parents need to help children schedule their homework/practice time. Music needs the same energy as math or social studies. A math assignment is not done until it is finished. Think of music practice the same way. Instead of assigning a certain amount of minutes for practice, encourage your student to work for mastery and confidence. For example, play exercise #1, 5 times through; line #6, 10 times through, and the band pieces 5 times each, daily. That is called smart practice! My next blog will be about “how to practice.”
#3. Support all your student’s activities. Go to all the concerts, open houses, as well as sports contests. Congratulate your child on a job well done, being a part of a team, and individual progress. Your support is crucial to your child’s sense of self-esteem.
You and your student will learn from the band experience. Your first year will be a success!