5 Reasons for “High Fives”
When watching your child play sports, it’s easy to know when to say “Good job!” With musicians, it can be a little trickier to know what to celebrate. Here are 5 key progress indicators for student musicians. When you notice one of these benchmarks your child has accomplished, be sure to give him a “high 5” to congratulate his progress!
Knowledge of Theory
Music theory provides the building blocks that students need to make music. Basic music theory involves naming notes on the music staff, recognizing rhythm patterns, and learning to play notes on the instrument. Understanding music theory is a big accomplishment for students. It takes time and practice. Ask your child what he has learned in music theory lately. Then give him a pat on the back for his hard work!
Accuracy of Notes
Musical accuracy means your child plays the correct pitch and rhythm for each note in the song. While that may sound like an easy task, there is a great deal of mental and physical coordination involved. With a new piece, most students struggle with notes and rhythms. They often stop frequently to learn the correct notes. After practicing, they should be able to play the song with the correct notes at a consistent speed. That’s a big accomplishment worth celebrating!
Interpretation of Music
As your child becomes comfortable with a new piece, be sure to congratulate him when he plays with expression. Playing with expression means the student understands the style of the piece. Depending on the style, the musician plays louder or softer, legato or staccato, with various musical interpretations throughout the piece. Learning to “make music”, instead of just playing notes on a page, is a big moment for musicians.
Creativity in Composing
Most musicians enjoy the creative side of music. When students understand the building blocks of theory, they often explore the option of writing their own compositions. At first, their songs may not make much sense to the listener. As a parent, find a way to encourage them to keep creating songs. The passion and skills used in writing music provide a great outlet for individual expression.
Playing with Musicians
Learning to play with other musicians takes practice. In addition to playing their own part, students must also listen to other parts. There is an increased importance for musical accuracy so that the music sounds correct. Playing a duet with a teacher is a great way to develop this skill. Playing with a group of friends can also be an exciting way to make music. When your child decides to take the risk of playing with another musician, be sure to give him a “high 5.”
As a musician’s parent, you have an incredible opportunity to cheer on your musician. Your encouragement will be a key factor to help them continue along the way. Similar to the process of learning to ride a bike, learning to play a musical instrument takes practice, patience, and lots of encouragement.