Music surrounds us. From the minute we are conscious of sound, music filters into our brains. The rhythmic sounds of a heart beat or voices, a lullaby to send us to sleep. Birdsong, a street side orchestra, and as we get older we find bands and singers that we enjoy, and perhaps even begin to play music ourselves!
It seems to be an unspoken rule that parents should expose their children to music at some point during their childhood. Studies have shown that “Music Awareness” lessons where sound, notes, and pitch are introduced to toddlers or babies helps them develop a fundamental love and ability for music as well as language development skills and a head start in life.
Not everyone has a positive experience however, when they first attempt learning an instrument. So often people account tales of how they were cut from choir class or how their music lessons were boring or how having to practice every day became a chore.
To make learning music a positive experience, it’s vitally important to both introduce music from a young age and also find the right teacher. You don’t have to join a class, as children can easily be exposed to notes and sounds at home. Classes with an experienced child music teacher however, can be beneficial, it is a fun and interesting activity for parents and children to do together as well as giving both the skills and tools to play with music at home. The older you are, however, the better it is to find the right music teacher for your specific needs.
So what should you look for in a music class or music teacher? Here are some thoughts for parents, students and teachers on what makes a good music lesson.
Staying Positive about Music
To share a love of music with a child or student, you have to be positive about the music yourself. Teachers may have taught the same class many times before, and often classes can become rote. A teacher who can impart the basic steps with enthusiasm will infect their student with music happiness. Planning lessons prior to the class helps too. A prepared teacher can give a better lesson. Parents can also help by staying positive about learning music. If practicing music becomes a chore, try to find other ways to reward children for practicing or involving it in games or other kinds of interactive play. Make a music video…
Teach students their favourite music
There is no wrong or right music! The best way to get the most out of a student is to teach them their favourite musical genre. That might be pop or rock, or metal, maybe even trap! But each of these genres has something that can be used to teach. A sequence of notes, a rhythm, a lesson can be found in every song. Students who are learning about the music they are already interested in will be more likely to practice, and, as they say, practice makes perfect. Students will progress faster and become more proficient, making learning harder things that much easier for both teacher and learner!
Engage with Students
Music lessons should be dynamic. Music is not something you can just memorise. It’s an artistic and creative expression. Lessons should cover all these aspects. Learn a little, have fun a little, laugh and play, the music will follow. Don’t just follow the book, make the lessons work for both the student and the teacher. These days both teachers and students have a huge range of media they can use to add to lessons. From videos to production programs. Great teachers show personal investment in their students as musicians and as people, and encourage their student’s progress rather than expecting it. A talented music teacher understands each student’s individual needs and can help to set accomplishable goals to work toward at a pace that suits them based on their abilities.
Make a band!
“According to research, collaborative learning is incredibly beneficial in helping kids learn the complex lessons.” Encourage your child to form a band. A school that provides combos or group lessons is also great! It’s a fantastic way to see how the various musical instruments can work together, as well as teaching other important skills. From timing, to performance to production.
Patience is indeed a virtue
“Students develop their musical abilities at different rates, and not all of them will grasp important concepts right away. Great instructors are able to listen to students as they play and expediently identify any key problems that hold them back from progress.” A teacher needs to have a great degree of patience, but also emotional intelligence. Identifying when you should push a student harder, or give them a break is important. Each student is different and what worked for one may not work for all!
A music teacher can spot a guitar student sitting in the wrong posture a mile away. It’s this eye for detail that make a skilled teacher important for the music student. To guide them in the fundamentals, sets a student up for life. Students with a great basic understanding of the underlying elements that make up the study of music will be able to switch or add instruments later on much more efficiently and easily. Sitting correctly helps the student produce the notes and tones without excess strain, and having a teacher reinforce key training techniques makes learning the music more efficient and easier.
Understanding the role of basic music theory concepts makes it easier for a student to play and experiment with sound later on.
Once a music student, always a student
An excellent music teacher is also a musician. Someone who not only shares their music knowledge but also creates and enjoys music for themselves. It’s not easy to understand a student’s needs unless you were once learning too. Effective instructors continue to learn as they teach. From their peers or in their own musical careers and these new lessons can be shared with their students. A love for music does not diminish, it evolves.
Find your Match
To find the right teacher for you or your child, know your goals! What do you want to learn, what kind of instrument or style. What kind of teaching or learning environment do you enjoy? If you know the answers to these questions, you can provide this info to your chosen music schools and they should be able to match you with the right teacher. Learning music takes time, but it also takes time to build a relationship with your teacher. Make sure you are learning in a positive environment.
“A good teacher is the one who is empathetic, has patience, positive attitude, and knows how to push you when required. They should also reward you when you achieve a certain level. All in all, they should make the learning fun and interesting.”source
At Shine Music School we strive to match our teachers to each individual student, allowing for the most positive music educational environment. We have teachers who are professional musicians in a wide variety of musical genres, with years of experience sharing fundamental musical knowledge with their students.