PARENTS OF NEW BAND & ORCHESTRA BEGINNERS:
A large majority of beginning band and orchestra parents are doing their best to give their student an opportunity to learn to play a musical instrument. Many of the parents do not play instruments themselves and have little or no knowledge of how to be supportive in the beginning endeavor. This article attempts to help these parents be aware of what to expect and how to be supportive so that the student has a good chance to become successful and continue with the instrument while enjoying the experience.
7 Steps to help your beginner musician be successful
1) Rent an instrument that the band or orchestra teacher suggests. If the actual instrument itself is of good qualrty, it will be easier for the beginning player to master and feel successful. A poor-quality instrument will hamper the student's progress.
2) From the first day, encourage your student to bring the instrument home to practice what they learned that day. Students need to be prepared to move forward the next day. Never make fun of the sounds they are making. It takes a long time to develop a decent sound on any instrument and everyone must start somewhere. Encourage your student to keep tyingand the sound will get better.
3) Beginning students learn from the frst day how to care for the new instrument as well as how to handle the instrument. Never allow brothers, sisters, or friends to play with the instrument. It is fascinating to them and many instruments are broken or damaged
4) Take the option, if available, to purchase private lessons for your beginner. There is no better Iesson than one-on-one. Some schools even offer a private lesson with two students together, each paying one half the fee. Remember, in the large class, the teacher can not get to each student to address individual problems.
5) Continue to ask your beginner if they are supposed to be bringing their instnrment home every day. Ask them to play for you so you can hear their progress. Many teachers give the student a "practice record" as part of their grade. Be interested in that record and sign it as necessary. lt is usually required that the paper be returned back to the teacher the next day for a grade.
6) "It takes a Village" - Band and Orchestra Directors need volunteers, so please volunteer and be available to help. They often need help in the classroom, with uniforms, general secretarial work, chaperons on busses, or fundraisers. If there is a Band or Orchestra Booster Club, please join and help.
7) The first time all the beginners perform together will be for a Christmas Concert. This is a big event for the directors as well as your beginner student. Be excited for your student and plan to attend the concert and take the entire family. Your beginner has worked very hard to learn the parts and will be excited for you to hear the entire group, since all you have heard so far is him/her play by themselves. Some parents simply drop their students off and come back to pick them up. This is their first concert, so parents should attend. After Christrnas, continue to encourage your beginner to stay with the instrument and practice because the second semester of the beginner year gets a bit harder and some beginners think about quitting.