A family who plays together….

Parents continue to ask advice about how to inspire their children to continue practising.

I am not yet a parent, so I cannot answer from the parent’s perspective.

My perspective is from childhood – my mother forced me to practise, and now I have a career!

One thing that has happened recently in our school, is that a number of families have had success with inspiring children to practise when mum and/or dad also have some musical endeavours.  That is to say, the culture at home is one of music learning and appreciation.
The families where music is enjoyed and learnt by at least one parent are the families in which there is no argument (or not as much!) about the necessity of practising, as it is clear by the parent’s behaviour that this is a part of life.
Particularly encouraging for children is when mum or dad start learning a new instrument, or restart an old one.
One family have found that a little healthy competition is a winner: dad set himself a personal goal, and one boy was so inspired that he finished learning dad’s song before dad did.

Maybe the family can form an ensemble – children play a duet, or ask dad to accompany on the guitar, or have another sibling sing the words.

One of the things I loved about my visit to friends’ families in Colombia, was that music making was more natural of an evening than all sitting around the television, or disappearing into separate rooms with separate computers or iDevices.  I played keyboards while my friend played viola; a family friend played mandolin, and everyone else played drums, percussion, sang or danced.

What a wonderful idea and way to enjoy family time and model that music making is natural, communal and fun.

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