practising with kids
Supporting our kids
“AWWW, MOM!!! Do I have to???” What’s a mom to say? I couldn’t say yes and I couldn’t say no.
I wanted her to WANT to do it.
When my daughter started violin lessons, my goal for her was that she would keep playing as long as she loved it, and my hope was that she would keep up her enthusiasm throughout her childhood years and grow into the musician that was kindling inside.
So, how do you keep something fresh and fun, and also, how can you help a kid keep at it when it’s not so fresh and fun? I mean realistically, there were bound to be dry periods and I did not want those dry periods to end up with her not practising, and therefore not improving and therefore getting bored and therefore quitting.
Sometimes, I had to get creative . . . "Hey, let’s play Harry potter! Put on your Hogwarts uniform and you can be Lavender and Hermione and Ginny and I forget who else, and all of you can take turns playing me your piece.” You get the picture . . .
With music, there are so many facets. To be the best artist we can be, we need to draw on all our resources to the fullest. Music uses the analytical, pattern loving, left-brain type of thinking, it uses the intuitive right brain side, it calls upon our spirituality, and then it calls upon us to bring these three aspects to their highest manifestation using our bodies. When it’s all working well for us, we are not consciously making it happen, but it seems to be happening of its own and it carries us along rather than it being we who are controlling it. It’s a beautiful place to be!!!! That is our goal as musicians and how we get there will depend on how we practise. And if we are helping children on this path, it can be a very delicate balance that we are trying to maintain, between letting them be in their own zone and helping them over the hurdles.
With school starting up again, it’s a good time to reflect upon how we can support our children in all their learning Endeavours. There are many books about various learning styles that talk about how kids all learn differently, but not many talk about ways we are all the same. Does this sound like something you might have said as a child? "Hey!! Look at me!!” This is very profound for children and it’s also so simple that we parents do not realize how important it is. Kids do not say: “hey I’m great!” they don’t say: “How’s this?” They say: “Watch me!!!”
And how did you learn to talk??? Did you start off by learning the alphabet? No, you watched and copied. Every time you copied a new word, your parents repeated it back to you and were overjoyed!!! That’s what kids need to help keep them enthusiastic. It really is that simple. They learn by watching and being watched, by copying and being mirrored and to keep up their interests by being appreciated with joy and enthusiasm. I always know that if I can change the “AWW MOM!!!” into “WATCH ME!!!” We’ll be good to go.