When I get a very young student interested in music, usually the parent realize quickly that those pupils do not want to practice. Music yes! Fun, yes! Chores? Not so much! So, the student takes a few lessons, to have taste of what it takes. They go back home, the parents tell them to go practice. At the beginning, they might go willingly to pluck a few scale or hammer a rock beat. But, especially if the student is less than 8 years old, the telling to go practice by the parents becomes nagging, and music gets associated to being annoyed, boredom, pain, frustration, etc.
They quit. They tried, it didn’t work out, not interested anymore, they quit. Boum! Student gone, kid cured of studying music for quite a while, parents disappointed.
What a pity!
I think it really is too bad when this is the script that goes on in the music rooms. So, I have devised a bunch of tools, concepts, methods, some of them I discuss in this blog, to remedy this situation. It is not very complicated or very expensive. It requires that the teacher stays close to his student’s needs and wishes, even when those are not well articulated like, for example, in a six years old boy.
I am very proud to have many very young pupils who have been with me for more than a couple months. I had to consciously think of how to approach those particular customers and keep them engaged in music. Sometimes, though, I have to sacrifice a few things, like little bit of technique (a little bit, not a lot) or the arrangement of the lesson itself (I might have to jump from one subject to another at anytime).
But what rewards! These young people grow to love the study of music, to think of it as fun and challenging! They grow in their pride when the work is good, they develop problem solving skills when the going gets hard. They learn not to give up because behind that hurdle could be a heavenly feeling.
These are great students! I pride myself in teaching them the skills they need to not only learn music but also enjoy it.