Parents & Practising - under 10's
Updated: Apr 10, 2019
You've signed your child up for flute lessons and now you're wondering how to help during the week? Here are some ideas!
Kids under 10:
Make it a game.
Kids love to win. And they love to spend time with you, having your full attention. We can make this work for us! This is a little game I use in my studio, especially with kids who have a tendency to be less precise or not want to repeat things. They have a blast and improve in the process!
You can use any game board you have around the house or make up a simple board with start and finish lines. There should be room on the board for each of you to take 5-8 turns. The trick is to let them roll first; makes it much more likely they'll finish first!
Choose a piece they worked on in their lesson. Pick a tricky bit and decide what specific thing you're trying to fix - is it playing the correct rhythm? keeping the notes in the correct octave? fixing the articulation? playing the right dynamics? Your child's lesson notes can be helpful here. They choose their character (I love to be the dragon - but then, so do they!) roll the die and only get to move forward if/once they play the assigned passage perfectly*.
If you don't play an instrument, you can make up a personal challenge that you have to complete to take your turn - maybe a fantastic tongue twister, having to answer a riddle your child has created or drawing an animal your child chooses in less than 5 seconds!
Need more ideas? Check out our free printables here!
*You can choose the difficulty level based on your child's personality and current playing level; i.e. if you're working on rhythm, will you accept the passage as correct if they make a note mistake? And does each person only get one chance per roll? Decide in advance, so there's no mid-game argument!
Be an audience.
Many kids love to perform. Have your child choose a specific piece or passage from their lesson to perform for you, the official audience member who claps enthusiastically at the end of the solo.
Then ask them to show you a piece/passage that isn't quite as good as the one they just played for you. Ask them to show you why it's difficult. Then ask them to show you how they would work through it in their lesson.
Take turns choosing.
Kids really like to do things they do well, and don't always like to spend time on the things that need work. You can trade off - for every 2 times they play a bit they're good at, you get to choose a bit that needs work.
If your child is open to it (many of the younger ones are still in the "I CAN DO IT MYSELF!" phase) and you play an instrument, have fun playing together. Keep it light and fun. Show them how you work through a passage that's tricky for you, so they see how you improve, too!
Encourage, encourage, encourage.
Learning a musical instrument is hard. But, taken in small enough steps, it's something that every kid can do. They're going to make a lot of mistakes, and maybe discover some very ... interesting ... sounding music along the way, but with your love and encouragement to keep trying, they'll make it past the most challenging part (starting out!) and music will become a significant part of their lives.
Some days will be better than others; what worked Sunday might be no good at all on Wednesday. But each day where playing happens is a good day!