This page intends to let you, the parents, know what to expect from your child, what to expect from their teacher and what is expected from you.
It is a common trend that young children who begin learning an instrument will give up after less than a couple of years. Many factors can contribute to children quitting their instrumental lessons, besides financial reasons, including:
- Parents perceiving a lack of progress
- Parents perceiving a lack of enthusiasm to practise
- Children lacking confidence in their ability
- Hectic after-school schedule
Many of these factors are perfectly avoidable if there is clear communication between teacher and parents about what to expect. Parents should not expect too much progress when a child is young. The co-ordination required to play an instrument is not fully developed in most children until they are 9 years old (see chart below):
First of all, parents shouldn’t expect their child to practise of their own accord if they are younger than 11 years old. Lots of encouragement is required, but be careful not to make practising their instrument a chore! The pdf below has tips on how to encourage more home practice:
We provide personalised Practice Diaries where your child will write down their own practice schedule, and sign a promise to stick it. This way, the amount of practice they do and when is their own choice. I would advise all parents to remember to encourage children to stick to their practice schedule!
Learning a new instrument is difficult as it poses a lot of unique challenges for children. Consequently it will take time before they become comfortable with playing their instrument. All children progress at different rates, which can sometimes make them become disheartened. As teachers we will be positive in lessons, trying to provide students with repertoire that will build their confidence while challenging them to progress to the next level.
In order to help build confidence while driving students to challenge themselves, we provide Greenwich Young Musicians 1st, 2nd and 3rd level certificates – all achievable for children aged 5-8 years old within one to two terms. The certificates are awarded once all repertoire in that level has been played to a satisfactory level – there is no exam.
Why stick with music lessons?
Showing the patience and determination not to give up is a good life-skill for children to learn. When learning an instrument, practice and hard work directly result in improvement – a good habit for any child to get into!
We always endeavour to make lessons enjoyable, and while progress and enthusiasm to play at home is not always obvious, children will reap the benefits of the musical skills they develop when later in life. As a teenager and on into adulthood, they may find joy and comfort in their ability to express themselves through music.
The significant number of adults who regret giving up learning an instrument as a child reflects how special it is to have the skills to play music.
Above all, as a parent and as a young child, learning music is as much about having patience as progress, confidence and enthusiasm will come in time. If students are expected to be Grade 3 level for GCSEs aged 15-16 years old, there is plenty of time for progress to flourish!