Although school is out for the summer, music does not have to stop being part of your child’s life. In fact, parents often seek ways to keep children entertained yet still focused and productive during the summer months, and music is the perfect solution.
Not only is music exciting and uplifting, but a steady program of music education can positively impact a child’s intellectual development, particularly at a young age. With all the fun they will have playing a musical instrument this summer, they will not realize how much they are also stimulating their brains.
Dr. Milton Allen is a conductor, clinician, speaker, author and tireless advocate on behalf of music education. He serves as an educational consultant for Music & Arts, the nation’s largest school music company, specializing in instrument lessons and repairs, as well as sales and rentals of musical instruments, with a special focus on the beginning and student musician.
Allen and Music & Arts collaborated to develop an engaging and inspiring collection of videos to help guide parents of student musicians. These videos, in addition to Allen’s tips below, will help parents keep their children focused on music until school starts:
* The instrument – Invest in or rent a good, brand-name instrument and make sure it’s the right one for your child. When choosing the instrument, consider the physical characteristics of the musician needed to be successful, such as arm and finger length, dental structure or lip formation. Without the correct physical attributes, success on the instrument may be difficult.
* Daily routine – Help your child find a time and place to practice every day. This will help develop positive repetition and create the right mindset. Since school is out, mornings can be rush-free during the summer. Use this time to kickoff the day with music practice sessions at home. For beginners, think about two or three five-minute sessions, and then extend the time from there – they don’t have as much to practice yet, and this will also help strengthen embouchure or finger muscles.
* Performances – Create outdoor opportunities during which your child can perform. Summer-time gatherings with friends and family, July 4th and Labor Day celebrations, backyard barbecues – nothing is more exciting than performing for people, no matter how simple the song. Take advantage of the beautiful summer weather and encourage your child to perform outside.
* Lessons – Summer is a great time to begin practicing an instrument. If your child is just starting out, make sure to find a reputable teacher with experience and patience. For students who already play, even a few private lessons can help prepare them, at any level, for the upcoming school year or just simply advance their skills. A good teacher can provide a few reminders and new things to focus on in addition to what the student already knows.
* Take advantage of summer concerts – Research indicates numerous benefits of listening to live music, and not simply because of how it makes us feel. To the school-age musician, it’s a great example of not only the power of music, but modeling. Young musicians who attend performances by professionals can’t help but evaluate the actual performers and how they approach their instrument. Plus, it’s a great way for the whole family to enjoy a night out together.
* Get involved – Once school resumes, become active in the school’s music activities or booster organizations. Your help is not only important in its own right, but it sends a strong message to the student about the importance of music.