I love listening to podcasts about teaching. This week, I was listening to the latest episode from Building Noble Hearts by the Suzuki Association of the Americas.
I won’t summarize the episode, because I don’t want to spoil it for you. I want to focus on one sentence I heard: an adult, describing her memories of practicing with her dad as a child, said “I felt very important because my dad was choosing to spend time with me.”
Even though the musical concept she was learning was difficult, and she was dealing with the natural angst and frustration of learning something new, she also recognized that her father valued her enough to take time out of his day and work with her.
This is one of the beautiful possibilities of music. As the child learns, the parent has the opportunity to spend time with their child, to strengthen the relationship, to learn more about their child and about themselves.
Parents- every time you listen to your child practice, every time you come and sit in the lesson, every time you say, “I know this is hard. Try it again,” you are communicating that, in that moment, your child is worth the time investment.
A new school year will be starting very soon, and naturally there will be a period of upheaval as everyone adjusts to the new schedule. While the routine is in flux, take the time to invest in your relationship with your child. Be present. Come to the lesson. Encourage them to keep striving, even when the concepts are hard and seem insurmountable.
In ten or fifteen years, your child may not be playing piano anymore (although that would be nice), but they will remember the time you spent with them, and your relationship will be stronger because of it.
For more information about practicing with your children:
Helping Parents Practice by Edmund Sprunger
For more information about the Suzuki philosophy:
Nurtured by Love by Shinichi Suzuki
I am a piano teacher who loves teaching music and discussing personality styles. I also enjoy playing music with others, whether that is chamber music, piano duets, or singing in a choir. My favorite composers are Bach and Haydn.