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Parents Guide to Strings Success
But I don't know anything about music!
How can I help my child succeed?


Whether or not you are a musician, you CAN help your child to be successful in their musical endeavors.  Take a moment to read through some of these suggestions and strategies.  As always, please feel free to contact me with any questions.


Provide a quiet practice space.
        A practice space should be a quiet, well lit part of the house free from as many distractions as possible.  There should be a music stand and a pencil available.

Set a practice time.
        One of the most commonly heard excuses is that the student "didn't have time to practice" this week.  This is usually not the case of course.  "I did not have time" is simply not an excuse.  ("I did not make the time" might be a more accurate statement.)  
        I always suggest to my students and families that they set a specific practice time.  Perhaps it is after dinner, or before school, or after soccer practice.  Whatever the time is, try to make it consistent.  If practicing an instrument is part of the child's daily routine, practice time will become less of a battle

Be resourceful.
        At some point this year, your child may ask you a question about their instrument, or perhaps about something in their method book.  You may be totally confused yourself as to the answer.  This is where I come in :)  Besides the abundant resources found on the world-wide-web, I can be reached very easily via email at thamelin@westfordk12.us, facebook, twitter, etc.  Please do not hesitate to contact me!   I am here to help.

Everything is awesome!
        Learning to play a violin, viola, cello, bass is certainly a difficult task for an elementary student.  But, lets face it ... listening to them learn can be just a challenging on the listener ;^)  I cannot stress this enough ... BE POSITIVE! You will hear some, shall we say, "interesting" sounds coming out of that thing at first.  Try to find something that they are succeeding at, improving upon, etc., and PRAISE them for it!  Your approval and encouragement feeds their desire to improve -- whether it is music, sports, academics, whatever ... your praise and affirmation of your child's interests is the BEST motivator for them.  So, perhaps have them play a mini-recital for you every other week ... or maybe have them play their latest for their grammy over the phone or something... be invovled, show interest, and most of all stay positive.  

Perserverence.
        A friend of mine once said, "You get nothing by quitting."  Learning a musical instrument is literally a lifelong endeavor.  There will be ups and downs.  Children do not typically have the "big picture" view of life.  Rather, they tend to have a lower tolerance to the frustrations which come along with learning an instrument.  If and when they come to you and express frustration, or even the desire to quit, please encourage them to stick out the year.  Chances are good that they will eventually work through their frustration and see the light on the other side.  They will be a better person for it -- whether or not they ultimately decide to continue playing in the next school year.  


I am sure I have missed a great deal here, so this will be a work in progress.  Please email me at thamelin@westfordk12.us if you want me to add/change anything.  Thank you :)