Practicing Music!Congratulations to each parent for getting though a challenging few weeks, the back to school season has been unusually complex, we have seen more scheduling adjustments than ever before at the Academy. As everyone is getting settled into the new routines, many parents are asking about how to get kids back on with Practicing Music...

Practicing Music

Reframe Practicing Music as an Academic Subject

Parents have been getting better results with this simple idea: Attach Music Practice to academics and homework, rather than "free time." Musical Practice looks less exciting if the alternative is playing with friends, running in the yard, or video games. But practicing the guitar as an alternative, or a break from Math and Science, starts to look a whole lot better. "Would you prefer Practicing Music instead of math tonight?" Try this simple reframing.

Reward systems!

We have heard great feedback from our in-person students about our new homework system, implemented a few months ago. The new notebook comes with stickers that are placed in a section at the bottom, one gold star for each day of practice. Every week, if the student practices 6 or more days the office will give them a special excellence awards sticker. After four of these excellence awards, students may open the treasure box at the office for additional rewards. These types of systems work great. Stars, points, pYou may already have one your own, and make sure you are implementing something like this at home for Practicing Music!

Limit Content Consumption

Another family highly recommends an app called Circle. Many families are using apps like this, which help to control the child's devices, turning on or off the use of games or entertainment, and setting healthy limits on content consumption. This family only unlocks the games and shows after Music Practice is finished!

How do I Know if my Child is Practicing Correctly?

This is a common issue, especially if parents haven't taken music lessons themselves. Kids can often exploit this. "I did my homework!"

The solution for parents who have this question is to learn a lot more about the process and communicate more with the instructors and the school. Observing lessons, at least occasionally is crucial as well. In general, great practicing, will be the repetition of sections or small details of a piece of music for the purpose of correction or refinement. Great practicing is often slow and methodical, with multiple repetitions. For an example: "I practiced my scales mom!" You should be hearing multiple, (like 5 or 10), repetitions, and with the idea of accuracy, or some other improvement in mind every time.

Should Music Always be Fun??

At the academy, we strive to make music as fun as possible!

That said, music is still a complex language. We want to stress, especially first timers, that sometimes, in order to really begin to enjoy music, students may need to pass challenges. Once those challenges are met, they can begin enjoying music much more. Teachers often struggle with the line between having fun, and making sure that students are getting to the next level. For an example, a 5 year old loves frozen:) but needs to understand some fundamentals so that she can play it, until the fundamentals are known she cannot play it and really enjoy it. We think it's helpful when parents have a balanced view on this subject. We have to make sure that the kids are connecting well with their teacher, learning a piece they like, and that the level of challenge is just right for them. Aside from this however, because music is so complex, there will likely be a time when they will face an obstacle. These can often be thought of as a hill, which once climbed, will plateau and again things will become easier and more enjoyable.

Please step in and encourage kids to not quit when things get challenging, but talk with the instructor, help them with practicing, try to find the best way to get through the obstacle! The rewards will be well worth it.

What is Too Much/Too Little Pressure?

Every student is so different, the questions depends entirely on the individual, and their appetite for challenge. Know your kid: What is a gentle push through challenge, and what is going too far? We do not want to kill the excitement about Music, at the same time, we have to grow and move forward at certain points. Usually the most successful families in this area communicate constantly with the instructors, give feedback on how the assignment played out during the week. Often, more gentle pressure works when students have great support systems: When parents, instructors, and piers believe they are good at something.

Use our Recitals/Creative awards to get Goals Moving!

The recitals are coming in December!

here is a countdown clock to show you how shockingly close they are: COUNTDOWN CLOCK!

Recitals are a huge part of incentivizing students to practice. This fall, we will definitely have another online recital like the ones we did in the Spring, and possibly an in-person option for those living in L.A. county, TBA. We also will bring back the Creative Video Awards!Here are the winners of the Spring Creative Video Awards. For any questions of this feel free to reach out to the office.