For Parents

Support your child musical journey progress

Peace Siriapaipan
December 5, 2022
For Parents

The phrase 'practice makes perfect', and music are intertwined. Like any skill, you need persistence, effort and repetition to see the fruits of your labour, which means that music learners require more than just classroom knowledge and activity. The time and focus on practising truly hone learners' skills and abilities.

Commonly, parents aim to see the optimum results when it comes to their child's educational journey. Although the learner plays a massive part in the final result- as parents, you can also support and encourage your children. But before you start developing strategies or plans, you must understand the factors that stop them from practising. That way, you can communicate better and see from your child's point of view.

Causes that prevent your child from practising

Our CEO, Boram Choi, discussed with Emma Porter (current SYNKii user and the Founder of Amadeus Music Academy) the common factors that could prevent practising. Emma has had a significant number of students with a wide age range and here are some of the potential causes for younger music students:

  1. The lack of motivation, known as laziness.
  2. Boredom and tiredness from repetitive practice sessions.
  3. Not knowing how to practice independently and effectively.
  4. The lack of time to practice due to a busy schedule (e.g. other extracurricular activities or schooling).

Typical vs deliberate practicing

Practice is essential for success, but it's not simply about how much time you practice; it's about how you practice. In the 1990s, three German psychologists performed a study between average and elite musicians. They believed that the elite players spent more time practising with less distraction than the average players.

However, the study revealed that both groups spent, on average, the same number of hours practising per week (around 50). The difference is how they spent that time. The elite players spent almost three times more hours than the average players on deliberate practice (1). Typically, people commonly repeat the following steps when practicing:

  1. Practising in the room alone
  2. Starting with music exercises or assignments
  3. Repeating the whole step over and over again.

Unfortunately, very little productive learning takes place with 'typical practising'. Hence, we are introducing 'deliberate practising', an innovative and purpose-led strategy. It requires focused attention and is performed with specific, clear goals and hypotheses for performance improvement (2).

Utilise 'deliberate practising'

The greatest challenge of deliberate practice is remaining focused. Initially, showing up and putting in the time is the most important thing. But after a while, learners could get careless and overlook minor errors, ignoring daily opportunities for improvement.

Deliberate practice may feel slow, as it involves focused repetition for specific goals. For example, the learner's purpose is to master a song's phrase - so the objective is to work on just the notes of the specific phrase instead of playing the whole piece. Here is how the learner's practice can be:

  1. Identify the practice session's purpose.
  2. Form a hypothesis about a specific or achievable goal you think will make that change and test it.
  3. Identify what has and has not been working to achieve the purpose.
  4. Repeat step 2 to enhance the objective setting/focus on the successful ways and move to the next purpose once accomplishing the current one.

In short, recklessly practising is time-wasting and demotivating. Setting a clear purpose for each processing session narrows down the activities required and helps learners set different objectives to tackle their desired outcome.

How parents can get involved and support learner's journey

Now that you know the difference between 'typical' and 'deliberate' practices - try to encourage your child to apply them to their sessions and see the changes in their progress over time! Moreover, our conversation with Emma did not only uncover potential causes that prevent young learners from practising. We also covered effective methods to get involved and motivate your child outside their music lessons! Let's take a look at some of them:

  1. Get into a routine: They can be short. It needs to fit the learner's schedule and not be overwhelming. We want the student to avoid associating 'practising' with negativity. Instead, make it something enjoyable for their long-term growth and sustainable progress.
  2. Communication: Do not be forceful, as it will demotivate them more. Talk to your child and see what is demotivating them from practising. Aim to be someone they can communicate with, as it allows you to develop your communication strategy.
  3. Positivity: Some learners feel pressure from the lessons already, so negativity is the last thing they need. Getting your child to practice could be frustrating, but always approach them with kindness and understanding. For example, if they are 'not in the mood to practice, offer them a break or incentive, and see if they are willing to practice later.
  4. Be the student: Sometimes, teaching others results in you learning more. From time to time, ask your child to teach you a song or relevant tasks that contribute to the session's purpose. It could be a phrase from the music or even something simpler.
  5. Be constructive: We want to be positive but not sugar-coating. Providing constructive feedback will help learners face their weaknesses and tackle them strategically.
  6. Engage: Our co-founder, Lawrence Jenner also suggests that bringing your child to see a concert or introducing them to new music is also a great tactic. It will inspire the learner to study new pieces of music, and it is a great way to understand your child’s passion, hobby or even future career.

Overall, the goal is for the students to genuinely see the value of practicing. We want the students to enjoy each time they pick up their instrument - whether inside or outside the lessons; as music should be fun and entertaining.

The students' determination is required, but parents' support and motivation will be a game changer! However, remember that you are not alone. Apart from being an all-in-one solution for 1:1 online music education, SYNKii offers full support for your child's progress inside and outside the classroom. With innovation and technology, we curate an AI gamified practice room to ensure our learners' progress and success! To learn more, click the button down below!

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Co-founder of SYNKii.
Also a bass/composition teacher.

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